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ADA Health Policy Institute


Mind the Gap: An Analysis of Dental Care Utilization in All States
(September 2015 - 60 min)

Watch the Webinar Recording

Download the PowerPoint slides 

This groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind analysis examines dental care utilization in 2005 and 2013 in every state, among Medicaid and privately insured adults and children. Some key findings include:

  • Dental care utilization among Medicaid-enrolled children increased between 2005 and 2013 in nearly every state. This resulted in a significant narrowing of the dental care utilization “gap” between Medicaid-enrolled children and children with private dental benefits.
  • Most states experienced a drop in dental care utilization among adults with private dental benefits over the same timeframe. In contrast, most states saw an increase in dental care utilization among children with private dental benefits.
  • While dental care utilization for Medicaid children continues to “catch up” to children with private dental benefits, a very large gap remains among adults. Policymakers ought to focus on reforms to Medicaid if access to dental care issues for adults are to be addressed.


Marko Vujicic, PhD, Chief Economist & Vice President, ADA Health Policy Institute


  • Julia Paradise, Associate Director, Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Anthony T. LoSasso, Professor, Division of Health Policy and Administration, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Andy Snyder, Program Manager, National Academy for State Health Policy