One out of three Americans cannot afford dental treatment.
The report comes from the Center for Public Integrity and PBS Frontline. The show, titled “Dollars and Dentists,” aired earlier this week.
The program explained the hardships that many Americans deal with when it comes to receiving the most basic dental treatment. It showed children that were forced to visit the emergency room for some dental treatment. It also showed the difficulty for many people trying to schedule an appointment with a Medicaid dentist, something that shouldn’t be a difficult task.
In some states, like Florida, around 1,200 children receive their dental treatment from emergency rooms. Only about one-quarter of children covered by Medicaid are actually able to receive the necessary dental care. There was also a 40-percent increase in Medicaid patients visiting the emergency room.
The report showed how emergency rooms have become more prevalent in dental treatment. The 16-percent increase for dental treatment creates a strain on the emergency room staff because many don’t have the proper training to treat dental cases. In some cases, all the staff can do is provide pain relief because they are not capable of properly treating the ailment.
In Minnesota, about 20 percent of dental cases in the emergency room are repeat visitors. In South Carolina, there has been a 60-percent increase in emergency dental cases during the last four years.
The report explored other aspects of the problems people face when trying to receive dental care and how dire a situation it is, in many cases.