Gentle Dental of Shelby Township
4737 24 Mile Rd Suite 1, Shelby Township, MI 48316

What does the healthcare reform law mean for dental care?

What-does-the-healthcare-reform-law-mean-for-dental-care

 

As the Affordable Care Act continues to be implemented across the U.S., it’s important for people to understand how what this law means for the dental health community. The ACA aims to extend health insurance to all Americans who previously did not qualify or could not afford it. However, dental care does not always fall until the health insurance umbrella. You shouldn’t be ditching your current dental coverage because you think that the government will soon be providing it for free; there are things you need to know about the ACA and dental care.

According to Frontline, more than 100 million Americans do not have access to dental care due to a lack of insurance. The high cost of care without insurance has kept some people away from the dentist for years. However, now that the ACA has been implemented that does not mean that dental care will now be available to everyone in the U.S.

Adults still need coverage
Under the ACA, insurers will have to provide dental care to children starting in 2014, but not to adults. This will still leave the millions of adults in the U.S. that do not have dental insurance struggling to afford basic preventative dental measures.

However, this does not mean that things won’t get better in the dental health community now that the ACA has been passed. For example, the law will provide additional funding to areas that are considered “dental deserts.” These are places where people have to travel extremely far to gain access to a dental health professional, usually in rural areas where dentists do not choose to practice. According to the Kaiser Health Foundation, a little more than 15 percent of the U.S. population lives in a place where there is limited access to dental health professionals.

One suggestion that have been made for how to handle areas of the country where there are few dentists is to expand the role of dental hygienists and dental therapists. The ACA has set aside funds to provide these individuals with more training, so they can perform some of the basic services that dentists do, such as cleaning and cavity drilling.

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) has staunchly disapproved of dental therapists in the past.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the ADA has argued that dental therapists lack the necessary training to perform dental procedures that could have long-term consequences. Furthermore, the organization has argued that these individuals are not qualified to notice the early signs of certain serious oral health issues, such as oral cancer.

President of the ADA Bill Calnon, D.D.S., explain that the hesitancy dentists feel about dental hygienists are purely safety concerns, not because they are worried about competition.

“This is not about dentistry or dentists protecting dentists,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “This is about dentists doing what they feel is the absolute best for the American public … and doing it in a way that maintains the highest level of quality care possible.”

Education is key
Finally, the ACA will also fund programs that teach people about the importance for having proper dental health habits and visiting the dentist regularly. If you brush and floss regularly and visit a dentist twice a year, then you will be far less likely to experience a painful dental health problem that will be expensive to treat.

For now, individuals without dental insurance should look for affordable care options such as discount dental plans and inexpensive dental insurance options, so they can afford the care they need.

Read What Our Patients Say
Patient Reviews
Friendly staff, Dentist very patient with me.
Consuelo K.
Debi is the sweetest! She always makes my teeth super clean and puts a smile on my face :) I relocated to Florida and when I come back to see family I make sure to get my teeth cleaned here rather […]
Michelle M.
Made sure of my insurance benefits before I got there. Took the exrays did the exam and I knew exactly how much I was going to have to pay up front. Everyone was really nice. They did their best to […]
Ladeana S.
I am new to this office and my first appointment was pleasant (well… as pleasant as going to the dentist can be, I guess!). The staff was nice and I loved Dr. Steffens.
Casey V.
Great service
Jonathan C.
very friendly professional I would recommend to anyone of my friends or family
Pete V.
always please with the office and staff
Janet J.
Debbie is an awesome hygienist. She is a passionate about her job and it shows in the results. Kate and Joslyn are awesome too. Keep up the good work GD Shelby.
Mark M.
The staff at Gentle Dental in Shelby Twp have been my dental professionals for over 20 years. The facility is extremely clean, the dentists are knowledgeable and friendly, Debi the dental hygienist […]
Michele C.
Quality of service
Flora U.
Debbie is very thorough.
Rita F.
Absolutely fantastic place. I feel lucky to have found it. Genuinely careing, friendly and all around cool staff. Makes going to the dreaded dentist a million times better. I’ve been putting […]
Gage G.
Friendly
James M.
My 4th time here and again a very comfortable and positive experience. All the staff seems very caring and accommodating about my needs and concerns. I have and will continue to refer this office to […]
Jim C.
Because they are so nice and friendly.
Darnajah T.
Very friendly and helpful staff.
Terrence W.
Great service
Camilla S.
Very friendly!
Amanda P.
I love it there the workers there are very nice and helpful.
Danuel S.
There are so many great reviews of this place and due to my skepticism, I was a little worried that they were fabricated but truly, they are not! I took my chances and went to the office to find that […]
Lauren B.
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We accept most insurance plans and will be happy to help you understand the coverage that you have. We will do our best to see that you receive your maximum insurance benefits for all covered services.

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Office Hours
  • Monday 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Friday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Saturday 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
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  • Phone: (248) 721-4086
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