Photo Illustration by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
A dentist prepares to clean a patient's teeth in this photo illustration at a dentist's office on October 12, 2009
Experts agree that dental care is essential to overall health, yet it seems to have been largely left out of the ongoing healthcare debate. Federal health statistics show that at least 26 million children and 82 million adults lack health insurance. Cost, language and other barriers keep many Americans from having access to dental care. In Los Angeles, low-income options such as Medi-Cal, Medicaid and free clinics remain underutilized. What needs to be done to put healthy smiles on more faces?
Dr. Edmond R. Hewlett, DDS, associate professor, Division of Restorative Dentistry at UCLA, a consumer adviser and spokesman for the American Dental Association
Niel Nathason, MPH, chair of Community Dentistry, USC School of Dentistry
Dr. James Crall, DDS, professor of pediatric dentistry, director of the National Oral Health Policy Center at the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities