Having dental benefits is a key factor in an individual’s ability to access dental care in the United States. For low income families, Medicaid dental benefits for children are mandatory; eligibility and access to benefits have increased steadily in this century. Additionally, since the Affordable Care Act includes pediatric dental services an essential benefit, most children now have access to dental benefits.

For low-income adults, however, Medicaid adult dental coverage varies widely across states – from no coverage, to coverage for emergency procedures only, to limited services, and in a few instances, comprehensive benefit programs. In recent years, we have seen Medicaid adult dental benefits reduced or eliminated in many states. Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act and recent incremental or comprehensive approaches to expand coverage for adults in some states offer significant opportunities to advance this important goal.

Oral Health 2020 Target: At least 30 states have an extensive Medicaid adult dental benefit.