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There has been much debate about how to increase dental access for children and their parents across Maryland. The purpose of this report, “Access to Dental Care in Maryland: An Assessment of Challenges and Solutions,” is to contribute to the current evidence base to inform state policymakers and health care advocates seeking to eliminate barriers and increase access to oral health care for low-income populations in Maryland. The study had two main objectives. First, the identification of the challenges and the extent to which low- income Maryland residents face barriers in access to dental care. Second, a literature review to explore policies and programs implemented by other states to expand the capacity of the oral health care delivery system and weigh the risks and benefits of adopting similar policy levers in Maryland.

The report concludes that there is no silver bullet to fix access to dental care across Maryland. Instead, there needs to be a multi-faceted approach to address the disparities and remove barriers to oral health services for low-income Marylanders. This multi-faceted approach could include a review of the Medicaid reimbursement rates to dentists, loan support, dental residency and externship programs, public education programs to improve oral health literacy and expanding the use and scope of dental therapists.

We want to thank Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Department of Health Policy and Management and the following authors:

Darrell J. Gaskin, MS, PhD
Anna L. Davis, JD, MPH
Hossein Zare, MS, PhD
Oshin Kanwar, BDS, MPH
Rachael McCleary, BS

The report is published by Advocates for Children and Youth with generous support from Pew Charitable Trusts and The Abell Foundation.