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Medical and Dental Care: The Great Divide

Posted by on 1/24/2014

Oral Systemic HealthAs medical science has progressed, there has been an increased recognition of the effect that the oral environment has on overall health and wellness. However, medical and dental care services are provided separately. Wouldn't it make sense that these services and insurances were coordinated?


Dentistry and medical care have long been separate until early into the 20th century when the link between oral care and medicine was recognized. It was noted that an infection in the mouth could spread throughout the body. It has become abundantly clear that oral health can affect heart disease, diabetes, and various other ailments. Although this was recognized, and both types of care were deemed important, they still act independently.


Currently, the Massachusetts Medical Society is implementing an oral health committee to encourage participation between the disciplines. This move is significant in the unification of care.


Additionally, the Affordable Care Act includes provisions to include coverage for pediatric dental care. Unfortunately, the coverage levels are still different and are not mandated for adults as well.


There is hope among medical and dental providers alike that in the future we will see coordination of services across disciplines. This blending will go a long way to enhancing oral systemic health.