dental care

Rebecca Smith / KBIA

More than 1,700 people waited in line for hours to get free dental care at a clinic in Columbia, Mo. this month. The turnout for this clinic, called the Missouri Mission of Mercy, reveals a hidden crisis: the expense of dental care and lack of access are major obstacles for many throughout the state and the country.

Throughout the event, held July 31st - August 1st, a team of reporters from the KBIA Health & Wealth Desk spoke to the patients receiving treatment at the event, and the volunteers who made it all possible.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA

  

 Missouri Mission of Mercy, or MOMOM, hopes to provide free dental care for up to 2,000 Missourians this weekend at the Hearnes Center in Columbia. 

This is the fourth year dentists, hygienists and other volunteers from across the state have come together to provide cleanings, fillings and extractions free of charge.


A Missouri lawmaker is calling on Gov. Jay Nixon to preserve dental benefits for Medicaid recipients in next year's state budget when he signs the $26.4 billion spending plan into law later this month.

Conor Lawless / Flickr

The Missouri House of Representatives has proposed adding $48 million in federal and state funds to next year’s Medicaid budget to cover adult dental care. Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee agreed to the additional $48 million, but with some caveats. The money would only be used to pay for preventative dental care, like maintenance and extraction procedures. Part of the $48 million would also go towards paying dentists more for these procedures. Currently, the state only reimburses dentists up to 35 percent of usual and customary costs.

dentist
Herry Lawford / flickr

Missouri lawmakers appear likely to restore dental coverage for hundreds of thousands of adult Medicaid recipients, nearly a decade after it was eliminated.

New Providers Could Fill Gap in Rural Dental Care

Oct 27, 2011
kansasdental.com

Able to clean teeth, like a hygienist, but also fill cavities like a dentist. If you've never heard of a registered dental practitioner, it's probably because they are only legal in two states, Alaska and Minnesota. Like nurse practitioners, these mid-level providers are aimed at helping underserved rural areas.