NORFOLK, Virginia – More than 750,000 Virginians now have access to dental care thanks to new Medicaid benefits that took effect on July 1.
The benefit covers regular cleaning and preventive care, x-rays, dentures and even surgery.
Dentists say coverage is needed more than ever.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on the dental health of many people. A Health Policy Institute survey released in March found that 70% of dentists nationwide see more people coming with grinding and clenching teeth, which are often associated with stress.
Sixty percent saw other stress-related issues, like chipped and cracked teeth, and in another survey last fall, dentists reported an increase in cavities.
Suffolk dentist Dr Dani Howell says when people wait to be treated it makes the problem even worse.
“Things that six months, a year ago, might have been a small filling, are now root canal treatment or extraction, so being able to provide this preventative care to prevent a patient from losing their tooth in the long run. term is, I mean it’s the best interests of dentistry, ”Howell said.
Howell says the impact goes beyond that too, as oral health can impact so many things, such as high blood pressure and pregnancy complications.
To start using the new benefits, the first step is to find a dentist who accepts Medicaid coverage.
Since so many people now have coverage, Howell says some dentists may not be able to take everyone, so start looking for a dentist as soon as possible.
You can search for dentists here.
Transportation services are also available for people who need transportation to get to their appointments.
Click here to learn all about the new benefits.