Knowing that there are 25 private dentists in our community who are willing to take Medicaid kids makes a real difference.
Chris Phillips, Director for Community Affairs, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham
Three years ago Andrea Allen was newly on Medicaid and trying to figure out how to provide dental care for Donato, her 3-year-old son. A lot of dentists didn’t take Apple Health (Medicaid) and it was difficult to find a dentist who specialized in caring for children. “I was confused,” Allen said. “I didn’t know where to go.”
The Renton mother of two then heard about the King County ABCD program and through the program received a referral to a dental practice in Tukwila that changed everything. She and her son received gift bags with toothbrushes and reminders about proper dental care and the importance of making appointments every six months. Instead of being scared about going to the dentist, her son Donato was suddenly excited about his next appointment. “He loves the dentist,” Allen said.
The dentist practice took X-rays and told Allen when to expect Donato’s adult teeth to come in. When his teeth did come in, they were full and white, something Allen attributes to the fluoride varnishes that Donato received on his baby teeth.
Allen also learned more about how to access the best care for her children, and she became more aware about the importance of oral health, not just for her children but for herself. “It definitely put dentistry at the forefront of our minds,” she said.
The ABCD program “was just a great experience,” Allen said. “A weight was lifted off of me.”
“It is a great program and it really is all about the dental care for the children.”
“It felt so good just to make one phone call and know that your 3-year-old kid is taken care of.”