California has approximately 400 pediatric dentists, with roughly 150 practicing in Los Angeles County, which is less than 2% of practicing dentists in the county. Last year, the Los Angeles Pediatric Oral Health Access Program provided training to fifty general dentists to increase their comfort level in treating young children. In exchange, the participants agreed to provide free dental care to 18 underserved children requiring urgent, extensive treatment, who are without private insurance or government benefits, and to begin accepting young children in their practice. Currently 195 children under five years of age have been treated for free through the Los Angeles Pediatric Oral Health Access Program.
“The California Dental Association Foundation is excited to have this opportunity to reach more children needing access to free dental care,” said Jon R. Roth, executive director of the CDA Foundation.
This program is co-sponsored by the CDA Foundation, the Los Angeles Oral Health Foundation and the California Society of Pediatric Dentistry. This project is funded in part by the Oral Health Initiative of L. A. Care Health Plan to increase oral health services for low-income, uninsured residents of Los Angeles County. L.A. Care Health Plan, which recently renewed its grant, has now contributed over $320,000 to the program. A local public agency and health plan serving 750,000 residents of Los Angeles County through a variety of programs including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and Healthy Kids, L.A. Care has identified oral health as a community priority, and has provided over $4 million in funding to Safety Net oral health programs.
“I'm very pleased that this unique training program will continue to address the access to oral health care crisis that exists for the underserved children in Los Angeles County,” said Dr. Eugene Casagrande, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Oral Health Foundation.
Upon completion of the 54-hour program, 100 general dentists in Los Angeles County will have completed training to treat young children as a result of the Los Angeles Pediatric Oral Health Access Program.
SOURCE: California Dental Association Foundation