Dental Care Coordination and Access to Care
How Local Dental Pilot Projects Connect Children to Dental Care in California’s State Medicaid Program
Oral health directly impacts a child’s overall health, well-being, and development, and poor oral health disrupts a child’s ability to eat, smile, play, and learn. Yet, in California, more than 50% of kindergartners have experienced tooth decay and more than 25% have untreated tooth decay. The social determinants of oral health are complex with deeply rooted systemic issues that prevent children from reaching optimal oral health. However, effective and robust dental care coordination services can help address the social determinants of oral health by providing children and their families with the support and education necessary to adopt healthy oral health habits and access the dental care they need.
California’s Dental Transformation Initiative Local Dental Pilot Projects (LDPPs) have been innovating strategies to increase and strengthen care coordination services for children enrolled in Medi-Cal. This brief highlights successes from the LDPPs and provides scalable strategies the state can implement to advance oral health equity and meet the needs of California’s diverse children and youth.
To learn more about Medi-Cal dental coverage and help connect kids and families to dental care, visit SmileCalifornia.org.