The Impact of Underutilization of Preventive Dental Care by Adult Medicaid Participants

Published 01/11/2022

In this article, published in the January 2022 issue of Journal of Public Health Dentistry, CareQuest Institute researchers assessed the cost implications of routine preventive dental care for approximately 186,000 Medicaid-eligible adults residing in states with a Medicaid adult dental benefit. 

Researchers found that regular preventive dental visits were linked with lower dental costs, reduced emergency department visits for nontraumatic dental conditions, fewer dental-related opioid prescriptions, and fewer oral surgeries. 

Compared to Medicaid enrollees who received five years of regular preventive dental care, Medicaid enrollees with no preventive dental visits were: 

  • eight times more likely to have a hospital emergency department visit for a nontraumatic dental condition 
  • seven times more likely to have oral surgery 
  • five to six times more likely to receive a dental-related opioid prescription 
  • more likely to be Black; Black Medicaid enrollees were half as likely as white enrollees to have had five years of preventive visits. 

Read the article

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