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Politics aside, teeth still lose

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The result? Emergency rooms and free clinics are overflowing with patients who could be treated by a dentist more effectively and economically.

We all know this is a dilemma, and it comes out in the media every so often when a press release comes out. But the whole landscape was laid out in an article in yesterday's New York Times. Please take a minute to read not only the article, but the dozens of reader comments it elicited.

Personally, I couldn't be prouder to live in Illinois. Our two former governors are behind bars and our current governor just drastically cut the state's Medicaid budget, limiting adult dental coverage exclusively to emergency extractions. Ouch!

An interesting aside....take special note in the article of the recent changes in dental Medicaid coverage in Massachusetts. After massive cuts, Massachusetts Medicaid is restoring coverage for restorations on anterior teeth only. The rationale? ?A lot of folks are out of work,? said Courtney Chelo, coordinator of an oral health task force at Health Care For All, an advocacy group in Boston. ?If you have a gap in the front of your mouth because you had a tooth extracted, it?s much more difficult to get a job.? In that case, what's covered? A flipper? An implant?

Is it me, or is there something slightly askew about that logic given the larger oral health crisis? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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