Dental coverage, access & outcomes
Latest data on Medicaid reimbursement for adult and child services by state.
More research and insights
- Comparative analysis of dental procedure mix in public and private dental benefits programs (October 2021)
- Does preventive care reduce severe pediatric dental caries? (November 2020)
- Children's oral health: progress, policy development and priorities for continued improvement (October 2020)
- Oral health trends for older Americans (August 2019)
- Access to primary and dental care among adults newly enrolled in Medicaid (March 2019)
- Disparities in untreated caries among children and adults in the U.S., 2011-2014 (March 2018)
- Why we need more data on the dental insurance market (January 2018)
- Income inequality in the United States and its potential effect on oral health (June 2017)
- Dental plan premiums in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces trended downward from 2014 through 2016 (April 2017)
- What have we learned about dental coverage on HealthCare.Gov? (February 2017)
- Geographic access to dental care varies in Missouri and Wisconsin (January 2017)
- Estimating premium and out-of-pocket outlays under all child dental coverage options in the federally facilitated marketplace (January 2017)
- Dental care presents the highest level of financial barriers (December 2016)
- Time to rethink dental “insurance” (November 2016)
- Where is dentistry going? (November 2016)
- The booming Medicaid market (February 2015)
- How affordable is health care in the United States and other countries? (May 2014)
- The effect of chairside chronic disease screenings by oral health professionals on health care costs (February 2014)
- A tale of two safety nets (January 2014)
- Reimbursement rates for child and adult dental services in Medicaid by state (PDF) (October 2021)
- Cost barriers to dental care among the U.S. population, by race and ethnicity (PDF) (April 2021)
- How competitive are dental insurance markets? (PDF) (November 2019)
- Medicare expansion and dental benefits coverage (PDF) (December 2018)
- Oral health and well-being among Medicaid adults by type of Medicaid dental benefit (PDF) (May 2018)
- Cost barriers to dental care in the U.S. (PDF) (November 2017)
- Racial disparities in untreated caries narrowing for children (PDF) (June 2017)
- Untreated caries rates falling among low-income children (PDF) (June 2017)
- 2017 take-up rate of stand-alone dental plans (PDF) (May 2017)
- Oral health and well-being among seniors in the United States (PDF)(September 2016)
- Millennials struggle to navigate the dental options on HealthCare.gov (PDF) (May 2016)
- Screening for chronic diseases in the dental office (PDF) (February 2014)
- Dentist participation in Medicaid: how should it be measured? Does it matter? (PDF) (October 2021)
- Making the case for dental coverage for adults in all state Medicaid programs (PDF) (July 2021)
- Estimating the cost of introducing comprehensive adult Medicaid dental benefits in Florida (PDF) (June 2021)
- Estimating the cost of introducing a Medicaid adult dental benefit in Maine (PDF) (March 2021)
- Estimating the cost of introducing comprehensive adult Medicaid dental benefits in Hawaii (PDF) (February 2020)
- Estimating the cost of introducing comprehensive adult Medicaid dental benefits Virginia (PDF) (January 2020)
- Main barriers to getting needed dental all relate to affordability (PDF) (April 2019)
- Could dentists relieve physician shortages, manage chronic disease? (PDF)(December 2018)
- Dental benefits coverage increased for working-age adults in 2014 (PDF) (October 2016)
- Including child dental benefits in medical plans in California had limited impact on premiums (PDF) (May 2015)
- Data-driven insights on Medicaid dental care programs: new research from HPI (October 2021)
- Making the case for dental coverage for adults in all state Medicaid programs (July 2021)
- Measuring what matters - a new tool to help assess geographic access to Medicaid dentists in every state (February 2017)
- Unmet dental care needs falling among low-income children, rising among low-income adults and seniors (October 2016)
- Oral health and well-being in the United States (September 2016)
- How much would a Medicaid adult dental benefit cost? (March 2016)
- Taking stock of pediatric dental benefit "mandate" under the ACA (March 2016)
FAQs about dental coverage, access and outcomes
Source: Dental Benefits Coverage in the U.S. (PDF) (HPI Infographic).
Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia provide at least limited dental benefits for adults.
Source: Making the Case for Dental Coverage for Adults in All State Medicaid Programs (PDF) (HPI White Paper).
Source: Dentist Participation in Medicaid: How Should It Be Measured? Does It Matter? (PDF) (HPI Research Brief).
Children generally have higher dental utilization than adults. Individuals who have dental coverage, whether public of private, are more likely to visit the dentist than those who do not have coverage. However, the types of dental procedures obtained vary by patient benefit type and age group.
The types of services that children covered by Medicaid received are comparable to the services received by privately insured children. Among adults, those with Medicaid benefits had higher shares of more invasive services, such as oral surgery procedures, while privately insured adults had higher shares of preventive services.
Dental Care Utilization in the U.S. (PDF) (HPI Infographic).
The Health Policy Institute has developed a tool for measuring access to dental care using geo-analytics for each state and the District of Columbia. Results report the percentage of publicly insured children living within a 15-minute travel time to at least one Medicaid/CHIP dentist per 2,000 publicly insured children as well as the percentage of overall population living within a 15-minute travel time to at least one dentist per 5,000 population. Data are as of 2015.
Source: Geographic Access to Dental Care (HPI State Fact Sheets).
Yes, there are racial disparities in dental care use. In general, White children, adults, and seniors have higher dental care use than Black and Hispanic children, adults and seniors. For all age groups, Hispanics and Blacks are most likely to face cost barriers to dental care.Source: Cost Barriers to Dental Care Among the U.S. Population, by Race and Ethnicity (PDF) (HPI Infographic).
Between 2011-2014, an estimated 18.2% of children ages 5-18 had untreated caries while 26.5% of adults ages 19-64 and 16.7% of seniors over age 65 had untreated caries. Results vary by income level and race/ethnicity.
Sources: Untreated Caries Rates Falling Among Low-Income Children (PDF) (HPI Infographic).
Racial Disparities in Untreated Caries Narrowing for Children (PDF) (HPI Infographic).
An estimated 42% of adults over age 30 suffered from untreated periodontal disease between 2009-2014. Results vary by gender, education level, income, and other factors.
Source: Periodontitis in US Adults (JADA).