Pew Children’s Dental Campaign report shows Wis. has made some progress

Pew Children’s Dental Campaign report shows Wisconsin has made some progress, but more needs to be done to ensure kids get care

Dr. Timothy Durtsche, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in La Crosse and president of the Wisconsin Dental Association, today released the following statement in response to the most recent report from the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign titled, “Falling Short: Most States Lag on Dental Sealants”.

WEST ALLIS, WIS., Jan. 8, 2013 –“The state of Wisconsin is to be congratulated on earning an ‘A’ for its efforts to help reduce tooth decay in low-income children through the use of dental sealants from the Pew Center on the States. The Badger State received 10 out of a possible 11 points with sealant programs in 50 to 74 percent of its high-need schools.

“In Wisconsin, approximately 1 million children and adults (20 percent of state residents) benefit from state dental medical assistance during a 12-month period. State fee-for-service MA data for fiscal year 2010 showed $146.6 million in dental care provided to enrollees. However, state and federal governments paid just $58 million (39 percent) toward that care with participating dentists donating the balance of $88.6 million in services. Note the dental community donates more in care than what is paid for by the state and federal governments combined.

“The WDA commends efforts to target high-need schools with state-funded dental sealant programs, but preventing dental disease is more than a one-time, school-based event. It requires individuals and families to practice healthy dietary habits and good daily oral hygiene. Routine dental visits for professional examinations and X-rays, fluoride supplements, dental sealants and diagnosis, treatment planning and necessary restorative care by a dentist are also important to preventing dental disease.

“Charitable care is not the solution to this problem. Wisconsin Dental Association members stand ready to assist state lawmakers in developing and implementing policies that reduce barriers to dental care for state residents.”