How to Fix a Broken Dental Safety Net
A trip to the dentist's office may instill a sense of dread, but for the majority Americans, access to care is rarely an issue.
For roughly one-third of the population, though, finding a dentist can seem next to impossible. The problem is especially acute for the poor and for those in rural areas. Currently, more than 49 million people live in areas where it is difficult to access care, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, while a separate analysis by the Pew Center for the States found that upwards of 17 million low-income children go each year without seeing a dentist.
“The dental system that we have works pretty well for most people, particularly those who have money and transportation and don’t need very much,” according to Shelly Gehshan, director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign.
FRONTLINE spoke with Gehshan about the scope of the problem. Read an edited transcript of that interview on www.pbs.org.
- Children's Dental Campaign