Dental community reacts to Dollars and Dentists

June 29, 2012

In light of the recent investigative film that examined the flaws in the dental care system, dental professionals from across the country have expressed mixed reactions. FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity were behind the production of the film.

In light of the recent investigative film that examined the flaws in the dental care system, dental professionals from across the country have expressed mixed reactions. FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity were behind the production of the film.

The coverage has sparked deep reactions from members of the dental community, as well as from consumers. Let's face it-The issue facing the nation's underprivileged children concerning dental care is becoming a crisis; and one that provokes an outpouring of varying perspectives and problem-solving theories.

It is estimated that more than 100 million Americans forego going to the dentist because they can’t afford it, which is one factor that led producers to want to do the documentary. 

“The issue of underserved minority populations is a huge one,” said Randy Barrett, Communications Director for the Center for Public Integrity. “We felt it was a compelling story and we wanted to dig into it.”

The film aired just two days before the Supreme Court would announce its decision to rule the Affordable Care Act constitutional on Thursday.

FRONTLINE reports that the ACA requires insurers to offer dental care for children but not adults, funds national public education programs on preventing oral diseases, and asks for additional funding to expand access to care for people who live in an area with a shortage of dental care providers.

Here's a roundup of reactions and statements from key dental organizations.

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association said in a statement that it "applauds PBS’s FRONTLINEfor its special, ‘'Dollars and Dentists,'’ a program addressing the “broken nature” of the current dental care system in the United States. The program highlighted the significant obstacles many Americans face in accessing oral health care – a shortage of dentists in many parts of the country and the high cost of dental treatment. The access to care crisis in America is complex and requires a myriad of solution strategies to create a true system of quality oral health care that is lacking today." Read the full press release here.

The American Dental Association stated in a press release that although they appreciated the growing media interest in oral disease, but regrets that FRONTLINE chose to title its program ""Dollars and Dentists" and devoted so much time to cover the debate over allowing so-called "dental therapists" with as little as 18 months post-high school training to perform surgical procedures like extractions."

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry said in a statement that it commends FRONTLINE and the Center for Public Integrity for shining a light on the importance of dental care by airing its joint investigation of the nation's ruptured dental care system and bringing appropriate attention to America's dental care crisis. While the program showcased the extreme difficulties millions of Americans - including children with government-provided insurance - experience seeking dental care, it's important to note that pediatric dentists have been consistent advocates for improvements in the system, which will result in better access to care. Pediatric dentists speak from experience as they disproportionately treat our country's most vulnerable children, including those on public insurance.

Did you watch the documentary? Share what you think in the comments below.

 


Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/28/4596964/aapd-responds-to-pbs-frontlines.html#storylink=cpy