Washington families have a new reason to smile



by Dr. Brent Gill, Columbia Basin and Orchard Hills Pediatric Dentistry

Cavity free!  As a pediatric dentist that is my favorite diagnosis for kids and their parents.  After January 1st it may be easier for parents to get the regular check ups, x-rays and cleanings their child needs, and to hear those words at their child's next visit to the dentist.
One of the many changes to health insurance coverage is a Washington state requirement that kids have dental insurance coverage as of January 1, 2014.  Data recently released from the state shows there are already 54,000 children enrolled in Washington who now have a pediatric dental benefit and this number is sure to grow.
Oral health is important to your child's overall quality of life.  Simple things like brushing your child's  teeth two minutes, two times a day, and seeing  a dentist for regular check-ups - are part of a healthy routine to keep your child cavity and pain free.  These are simple measures that can prevent pain and lower your healthcare costs.
There are several ways for parents to make sure their child is covered; through an employer provided dental plan, through purchasing a pediatric dental plan on Washington's Healthplanfinder also known as the exchange; through the individual or small business market (ie: through an insurance broker); or families who qualify may get coverage through Apple Health for Kids.
To help parents find a dentist to see their child, the Washington State Dental Association has established "Dental Referral Program for Children" (DRC).  Parents can call1-877-239-1011 or visit www.wsda.org/children to get the names of several dentists in their community that take the insurance plan they have chosen.
Oral disease is almost 100% preventable, yet dental decay or cavities is the most common chronic disease affecting children.   In Washington, 58% of third graders have experienced a cavity.  Regular brushing and regular visits to the dentist may help us turn those statistics around.



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