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School-Based Dental Care In California Works, Study Says


A report from Pew Charitable Trusts says a California program that takes dental services on the road effectively reaches people who need care. Health Care Reporter Pauline Bartolone has more. 

The study looks at part of a California program that sends dental hygienists to schools, nursing homes and day care centers.

There, they give basic dental care to people under the supervision of a dentist who works off site.

“They take an x-ray with a little portable, a very cute little machine that looks like a hair dryer," Shelley Gehshan with the Pew Children's Dental Campaign explains.

"Then they beam that information to the dentist, they discuss the treatment plan and then they do that treatment.”

Gehshan says such programs help people who either can’t make it to a dentist or have trouble paying for one.

“Many of these people have no regular source of dental care and they have a lot of difficulty finding someone who will accept them,” says Gehshan. 

Gehshan says bringing basic dental services to the community could avoid more expensive care later on.

But the study says, California’s pilot project, at its current scale, could not be sustained on Medi-Cal payments alone.

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