Connecting Kids to Dental Care
Every Smile Counts! (ECS!) is a pilot program targeting Medi-Cal eligible children aged 0-20 years old with the goal of increasing access to dental care in Sacramento and Amador Counties.
Every Smile Counts! has three pilot projects:
- Virtual Dental Home with Care Coordination
- Medical/Dental Partnerships with Care Coordination
- Community Partner Dental Training for Referrals & Care Coordination and Parent Education
The Virtual Dental Home (VDH) is a model for providing dental care in the places where people live, work, and go to school. The VHD utilizes the latest technology to link dental professionals in the community with dentists at remote office sites. The VDH will be operating at 14 schools in the Twin Rivers Unified School District.
Medical/Dental Partnership with Care Coordination - This pilot trains pediatricians and medical staff to provide a caries risk assessment and dental screening, and to apply fluoride varnish to their patients. The doctor/medical staff then refers the child to their assigned dentist for a complete dental exam and helps to set up an appointment. Medical staff receive training on how to bill Medi-Cal for these dental services.
Community Partner Dental Training - Community health workers (CHW) educate parents and families on many topics such as seat belt and car seat safety, nutrition, and how to access medical care. After receiving training through this pilot, CHW's will provide oral health education and help connect families to dental resources. Dental navigators located in hospital emergency rooms connect families with children needing dental care to their assigned dental plan member services and dental provider.
Facts About Medi-Cal Dental (Denti-Cal) and the Need for Every Smile Counts!
Cavities are 100% preventable!
Cavities or tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children. It is five times as common as asthma, four times more common than early childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes. In California, an estimated 504,000 children miss at least one day of school due to a dental problem.
More than half of kindergartners and more than 7 out of 10 third graders have experienced tooth decay and more than a quarter of them have untreated tooth decay.
The California State Auditor reported that California's Denti-Cal utilization rates are lower than those in many states. Federal data shows that nearly 56 percent of the 5.1 million children enrolled in Medi-Cal did not receive dental care through the program. In 2015, only 43 percent of children enrolled in Medi-Cal in Sacramento County saw their assigned dentist. The goal for Every Smile Counts! is to increase utilization rates by 5 percent each year of the pilot.
ESC! collaborate with community partner agencies to educate parents about how to prevent dental disease and how to access dental care so the whole family can live healthier lives without dental pain. ESC! partners deliver prevention services at schools so children can stay in school and parents don't miss work. We are working together to connect kids to dental care making Sacramento and Amador Counties healthier communities.