Master's Culminating Experience
Background: Adult oral health has been identified as a major public health problem by the United States Surgeon General. A substantial number of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated tooth decay. There are limited treatment options for adults without dental insurance. Low-income adults must turn to free/low cost clinics, or private dentists that accept Medicaid to receive dental care. However, these resources are often limited. When the resources are not available these adults are left to deal with untreated tooth decay which can lead to worsening conditions and other health issues.
Methods: Eleven key-informant interviews were conducted with community leaders of Montgomery County interested in the dental safety net. Interviews were conducted either in person or on the phone. Respondents were asked about his or her opinion about the available safety net resources for the community.
Results: The consensus among interviewees was that the dental safety net is important to the community as it allows those without dental insurance to receive care. Many respondents believe that Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County should be stepping in to address this public health issue.
Conclusion: The Montgomery County safety net is now operating at maximum capacity, and more funding is needed to increase resources. Though the problem will not be completely eradicated, the local safety net strives to help as many low-income adults as possible.
Butcher, S. Y. (2012). The Dental Safety Net in Montgomery County: A Status Report. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.