ATLANTA, April 5, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Kool Smiles, a leading provider of quality dental care for underserved children and families nationwide, today announced its affiliate dentists have provided more than $100 million in uncompensated dental care since 2005. The uncompensated dental care program has helped more than one million patients receive necessary dental treatments in instances where they did not have access to the Medicaid dental benefit or other dental insurance, and could not afford to pay out of pocket.
"Throughout the past decade, Kool Smiles dentists have remained true to our mission of providing a dental home to every family who needs one," said Dr. Dale Mayfield, Chief Dental Officer for Kool Smiles. "We proudly accept Medicaid and other insurance plans that most dentists don't; we also recognize there are many patients who have no form of dental insurance and no means to pay for recommended services. We feel it's our moral and professional obligation to provide uncompensated care in these instances, so that all patients receive the dental care they need."
According to a 2016 Pew Charitable Trusts report, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among U.S. children – five times more prevalent than asthma – and dental care is one of the nation's greatest unmet health needs among children, especially in low-income, minority, and rural communities. In 2012, more than four million children did not receive needed dental care because their families could not afford it. Even when controlling for insurance status, low-income and minority children remain less likely than their more well-off peers to receive preventive dental care, according to the report.
"There's clearly a 'dental divide' in this country – a significant socioeconomic gap that exists between families who can afford regular access to dental care, and those who cannot," continued Dr. Mayfield. "As a provider, we can and must step up to meet this challenge head on. Affordable care is important, but the dental community needs to do more to ensure all patients have access to quality dental care."
As a leading dental health provider, Kool Smiles' mission is to improve lives by providing high quality dental care in a fun, compassionate environment. Founded in 2002, Kool Smiles has more than 120 affiliated dental practices across 15 states and the District of Columbia, primarily in underserved communities that have historically lacked access to dental care. Kool Smiles dentists are proud to offer care to kids and adults with almost any insurance plan, including State Children's Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP), Medicaid and Tricare. Kool Smiles also provides oral health education programs through partnerships with community schools and organizations. For more information, please visit www.mykoolsmiles.com.
SOURCE Kool Smiles