Home > Maryland Dental Access > The Problem

Maryland Dental AccessThousands of people across the Maryland don’t have access to the dental care necessary to lead healthy lives. Some cite the high cost or not being able to find a dentist that will accept their insurance. Others can’t find a dentist or clinic within a reasonable distance from their home and some can’t get to the dentist office during “regular” office hours.

For many, the only relief or care they can find is at a hospital emergency room. When families turn to emergency rooms because they can no longer bear untreated dental pain, this unaddressed problem affects the entire state.

In Maryland:

  • 1 in 4 Maryland adults report the overall condition of their mouth as “poor” or “fair.”1
    • Among specifically low-income adults, this number increases to almost 40 percent.2
  • 1 in 6 adults report that the appearance of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for a job.3
    • Nearly 1 in 3 low-income adults say that the appearance of their mouth and teeth affects their ability to interview for a job.4
  • 30 percent of adults report that they have difficulty biting or chewing due to the condition of their mouth and teeth.5
  • 1 in 5 adults report that they avoid smiling due to the condition of their mouth and teeth.6
  • Among adults who did not see a dentist in the past year:
    • Over half cited cost as the reason,7
    • And while 25 percent of low-income adults reported trouble finding a dentist, no high-income adults reported this as a reason.8
  • There were approximately 48,000 dental visits to the Maryland Emergency Departments in 2014, nearly 60 percent of which were paid for by Medicaid.9 These visits cost Maryland’s Medicaid program close to $11 million.10
  • 41 percent of Maryland children on Medicaid (ages 1-20) – 274,000 children – did not receive any dental services in 2015.11
  • In 2015, only 1 in 3 dentists participated in the Maryland Healthy Smiles Dental Program (Maryland’s Medicaid dental program for children, pregnant women, and adults with certain high-cost chronic conditions).12

  1. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. 17 percent reported fair, 9 percent reported poor.
  2. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. In this survey low-income individuals are defined as those with household incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), middle-income individuals between 139 percent-400 percent FPL, and high-income individuals above 400 percent FPL. 19 percent reported fair, 18 percent reported poor.
  3. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf.
  4. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. In this survey low-income individuals are defined as those with household incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), middle-income individuals between 139 percent-400 percent FPL, and high-income individuals above 400 percent FPL.
  5. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. 13 percent reported very often, 17 percent reported occasionally.
  6. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. 10 percent reported very often; 11 percent reported occasionally.
  7. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf.
  8. American Dental Association Health Policy Institute, (2015), “Maryland’s Oral Health and Well-Being,” http://www.ada.org/en/~/media/ADA/Science%20and%20Research/HPI/OralHealthWell-Being-StateFacts/Maryland-Oral-Health-Well-Being.pdf. In this survey low-income individuals are defined as those with household incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), middle-income individuals between 139 percent-400 percent FPL, and high-income individuals above 400 percent FPL.
  9. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, “Analysis of the FY 2018 Maryland Executive Budget, M00F03 Prevention and Health Promotion Administration Department of Health and Mental Hygiene” (2017), http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/pubs/budgetfiscal/2018fy-budget-docs-operating-M00F03-DHMH-Prevention-&-Health-Promotion-Administration.pdf.
  10. Maryland Department of Legislative Services, “Analysis of the FY 2018 Maryland Executive Budget, M00F03 Prevention and Health Promotion Administration Department of Health and Mental Hygiene” (2017), http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/pubs/budgetfiscal/2018fy-budget-docs-operating-M00F03-DHMH-Prevention-&-Health-Promotion-Administration.pdf
  11. This figure counts children ages 1 to 20 who were eligible for the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment Benefit for 90 continuous days and received any dental service. See U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Annual EPSDT Participation Report, Form CMS-416 (State) Fiscal Year: 2015, as of September 7, 2016, http://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Benefits/Early-and-Periodic-Screening-Diagnostic-and-Treatment.html.
  12. Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), “Maryland’s 2015 Annual Oral Health Legislative Report,” (Oct. 30, 2015), http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/oralhealth/Documents/2015LegislativeReport.pdf. There were 4,022 total active dentists in the state, and 1,385 dentists enrolled in the Maryland Healthy Smiles Program, including 182 out of state dentists. 34 percent (1,385/4,022) of Maryland dentists are enrolled in Healthy Smiles, however that ratio is including the out of state dentists in the numerator and just the total active dentists licensed in Maryland in the denominator.