Lack of access to dental care endangering health, costing Colorado millions

By Mark Wolf Dr. Avani Khatri spent several minutes examining the small mouth of the boy in the dental chair, then pronounced her findings. “We can probably get away with doing fillings and not crowns,” she said through her mask. Khatri, a University of Colorado Dentistry School graduate, and dental assistants Nancy Vigil and Taylir Scott-Hall rotate among young patients who occupy each of three dental chairs at the Kids In Need of Dentistry (KI…

Medicaid patients struggle to access dental care

…217;t get to a dentist for six months – her first time ever to a dentist – because her parents didn’t have dental insurance and didn’t have cash to pay for an examination. Now 4, Torrie’s dental problems are so severe she has to go to an operating room, not a dentist’s chair, to have them fixed. While she is under anesthesia, an abscessed incisor will be pulled and nine other cavity-ravaged teeth will be pulled or treated. Torrie’s to…

Access to dental care declining in Colorado

By Diane Carman The crisis in access to dental health care in Colorado is growing more severe even as the effort by the state Department of Health and Environment this year continues to highlight improved oral care as one of its 10 “winnable battles.” A new analysis released Monday by The Colorado Trust found that the number of Coloradans without dental insurance grew 17 percent between 2009 and 2011, and that even people with dental insurance f…

Opinion: Colorado must expand access to dental care

…Health Coverage, Access and Usage in Colorado,” said there are now more than 2 million Coloradans without dental insurance – an increase of 17 percent since the 2009 baseline survey. The survey also found that having dental insurance makes a significant difference in whether Coloradans seek dental care, which means that fewer Coloradans are getting the dental care they need. During the discussion, legislators raised the issue of access, qu…

Opinion: Dental benefit could cut health care costs dramatically

…der this: Some 39,000 Coloradans sought treatment last year at hospital emergency rooms for toothaches and other dental problems. Such unnecessary and expensive emergency room care affects all of us by contributing to health care costs. An estimated $2 million to $5 million could be saved each year in Colorado by preventing needless emergency room visits through timely dental care. Most hospital emergency rooms simply aren’t equipped or staffed t…