This article originally appeared in the August 2017 edition of The Golden View Online. By Dr. Daniel Branson, D.D.S, Dental Director
Access to dental care for senior citizens has become a large issue throughout the nation. After retirement, employee dental insurance plans are no longer accessible, and Medicare does not cover dental treatment. Previously, most seniors did not have any teeth, and full dentures were the norm. Now, more seniors are keeping their teeth longer due to a stronger emphasis on early preventive care, and community water fluoridation. Natural teeth function much better than dentures for chewing and speaking. However, as health issues arise, seniors become more dependent on caregivers for routine brushing and flossing. Teeth begin to get cavities, fillings are lost, with pain and infection being a typical result.
A “first in the nation” collaboration has occurred right here in Dubuque. Crescent Community Health Center has partnered with Stonehill Communities to open a dental clinic at Stonehill’s main campus. This is the first time a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) has opened a fully operational clinic within a long term care facility. Crescent Community Health Center’s mission is to provide high-quality, respectful, and affordable medical and dental care to improve the health and well-being of our community. By opening a satellite dental clinic at Stonehill, Crescent Community Health Center is helping residents at Stonehill easily access quality and affordable dental care. Residents who choose to become patients of Crescent’s dental clinic do not have to leave the building! Crescent is very affordable to seniors on a fixed income.