According to the American Dental Association, dental disease is almost entirely preventable with good nutrition, oral hygiene, and regular dental check-ups. Yet left untreated, tooth decay and gum infections can have serious health consequences.
Lack of access to primary and preventive dental services also has an economic impact including loss of productivity leading to unemployment, increased health care costs, and increased cost for restorative services and repair in the long term. People with low-incomes and no health insurance have few options for accessing dental care.
Under the Montgomery Cares program, the PCC contracts with Catholic Charities Dental Clinic and the Muslim Community Center Dental Clinic to provide basic oral health care for Montgomery Cares patients.
The Primary Care Coalition is also implementing a grant from the Maryland Department of Health to identify and connect older adults in need of specialty dental care to services. This is part of an emerging portfolio of work to create an expanded referral network for specialty dental services similar to the Project Access referral program for specialty medical care. The PCC already coordinates a small referral network providing specialized dental care for pediatric cases as part of the Care for Kids program.
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