For More Dental Offices To Accept...For more dental offices to accept children with medical assistance insurance In 1998, the Maryland Children’s Health Program was initiated, funded and backed by the federal and state govt. The main purpose of this health care program was to ensure dental health care facilities for the children under the age of 19. Gamm, Hutchison, Bellamy 2002 identified different health care facts about rural people and tried to depict the underlying issues behind dental problems among children under the age of 19. Maryland Children’s Health Program was mainly targeted at children below the age of 19 who belongs to low income group. Lack of access to oral health facilities and dental diseases are the most serious health care problems in eastern Maryland. Children of this area suffer a lot in terms of health problems as compared to other parts of the country. Eastern Shore Children’s Regional Oral Health Consortium was formed in 2005 in coalition and affiliation with health various organizations. Their aim is to identify oral health issues and discrepancies in the middle and lower parts of the Shore area. Research found that children of this area are the most deprived and negligent groups whose health care problems should be given the utmost priority. The area lacks in professional dentist and medical practitioners. Beetstra, Derksen and Ro 2002 conducted a research on various low income groups of people to identify various reasons of oral health that affects the community.
In spite of much research and initiation of different healthcare programs, the area lacks good dental care facilities. It has been observed that most of the dentists do not participate in the Medicaid programs targeted for local people. Children having special health care needs and extensive dental care demands lack basic facilities. They have to travel long distances (from their area to Baltimore) for availing basic dental care services which clearly indicates the lack of adequate programs to support the healthcare needs of people of Maryland. About one in every five school-going-children suffers from dental pain and diseases. People lack advance and modern facilities and significant disparities has been observed in this regard. Highly suffered population belongs to lower-income group. Cho 2000 while researching on ‘improving access to oral health care for children’ tried to find out the means to provide better oral health care facilities for children who are deprived of dental facilities.Though different programs are in practice but still there are incidents strong enough to take our attention to the severe issue of lack of dental healthcare facilities, especially to poor population. The most drastic of these events happened in 2007 (Otto. M., 2007), when a 12 year old child, Deamonte Driver, died because of an easily preventable and curable infection from a molar that spread to his brain. This incident calls for a clear-cut action to address ever-increasing needs of people regarding dental care facilities. It is completely unfair that at one hand people have access to most recent technologies and preventive treatments to ensure dental care whereas on the other hand a part of population can’t even access the most basic facilities. This situation truly calls for systematic changes by initiating activities aimed at poor children who don’t have easy access to advanced dental care facilities (of course advanced dental care facilities comes after the provision of basic dental care facilities). 2007 incident brought the attention of decision makers towards the severity of this issue and local authorities felt the need to set up more offices and dental care centers at various locations in Maryland. They spotted the need to take dental services to the areas where children suffer the most. This statewide groundwork campaign is and will be bridging the gap among dentists, govt. officials, dental hygienists, pediatricians, community clinics, concerned families and health and dental care advocates. Provision of healthcare is a serious issue and if not given proper attention can lead to severe consequences, not only for the sufferer but for the entire nation. Silverman 2001 while studying the challenges associated with dental problems and diseases identified many consequences most dangerous of which is different forms of cancers. Knowing the severity of the issue and not taking preventive measures is nothing but negligence that can bring severe consequences for people at all levels. Oral and dental health is not a standalone factor rather it has a relationship with general health. It directly impacts the overall health of a child. Several studies have revealed that by the age of 8 more than fifty percent of the children are affected by dental caries and other oral diseases whereas the rate is almost 80 percent in under-18 children. This clearly shows the fatality of the concern. Since children are identified as the highly suffered group of dental caries thus they are supposed to be the one getting maximum care in this regard. Various in-depth analyses revealed the importance of dental health care facilities in Maryland. In 2008 Maryland dental association has initiated a rigorous marketing and education campaign statewide to persuade different parties to serve low income communities. These programs were primarily targeted at the children below 19 years of age; however there is much room for improvement. Following suggestions can be made in this regard:
- Since the lower-aged child group is the most affected from dental issues therefore more programs and arrangements should be targeted at them. To help the community it is suggested that different public and private parties having the capability should come forward to serve the deprived population. Voluntary services should be encouraged in this regard. Awareness programs should be aimed at lower-income families since ignorance and carelessness is observed among people belonging to this group which is the prime reason of reduced tendency to visit the dentists. Free or minimal cost should be charged in delivering dental services to the children. More dental offices should be established with strict instructions to accept children less than 19 years of age to ensure access to modern dental and medical facilities.
Gamm, L., Hutchison L.,Bellamy G. “Rural healthy people 2010: Identifying rural health priorities and models for practice.” Journal of Rural Health 18.1 (2002) : 9-14.
Beetstra, S., Derksen D., Ro M., et al. “A health commons approach to oral health for low-income populations in a rural state.” American Journal of Public Health 92.1 (2002):12-13.
Cho I. “Disparity in our nation’s health: Improving access to oral health care for children.” New York State Dental Journal 66.9 (2000) :34-37.
Silverman S. “Demographics and occurrence of oral and pharyngeal cancers, the outcomes, the trends, the challenge”. Journal of the American Dental Association 132 (2001):7S-10S.
Otto. M., 2007 “Boy's Death Fuels Drives to Fund Dental Aid to Poor”. Available <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/02/AR2007030200827.html> [accessed 15.12.2010]