Fluoride Action Network

Norwood: Dental program serves Massachusetts seniors

Source: ADA News | April 27th, 2009

Norwood, Mass.—In 1999, the Neponset Valley Community Health Coalition was established with a goal to advocate and help provide access to medial care for underserved residents in the region.

The coalition invited local dentists Dr. Stephen Stone, a periodontist, and Dr. Mark Stone, a pediatric dentist (who are not related), to help assess and address the area’s oral health needs…

Ms. Perry [program manager] says the program serves patients who don’t have dental insurance, don’t qualify for Medicaid, live at 150-200 percent of the federal poverty level and cannot afford dental care out of pocket.

Through the screening process, she also refers patients who qualify for Mass Health Medicaid to those participating dentists, or accepts them into the Elder Dental Program if they don’t have access to a Medicaid provider.

In 2009, after holding 13 screening clinics that served 408 seniors, program statistics showed 19 percent of patients presented with acute discomfort, nearly 32 percent had untreated decay and nearly 47 percent had progressive periodontitis. More than half (55 percent) had no dentist of record and most—82.6 percent—had no dental insurance. Patients’ average annual income was around $12,000 and a third of them had an income under the federal poverty level…

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Note from FAN: Drinking water for Norwood comes from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, which has fluoridated since 1978.