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Affordable Care Act and Dental Services Delivery

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed by President Obama in 2010. The purpose of the law was to reduce healthcare costs and promote insurance coverage in the country. Although the Act has attracted numerous opinions and oppositions, the outstanding fact is that it has presented specific provision that continue to impact dental health. Nasseh and Vujicic (2016) argue that the ACA has addressed the oral health gaps and disparities that have existed in the nation for many decades. Consequently, more people have access to quality dental care than ever before. It is therefore agreeable that the ACA has impacted the delivery of dental care for senior citizens, adults, and children.

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ACA’s Impact on Delivery of Dental Care

To begin with, the ACA has led to Medicaid expansion. This expansion covers “dental healthcare especially for low-income adults in the country” (Nasseh & Vujicic, 2016, p. 3). Adults who are covered under the Medicaid program receive dental benefits because of the law. Many states such as the District of Columbia have managed to expand eligibility for dental services under the Act. In 2014, statistics indicated that over 5.7 million adult under the Medicaid program were able to get adequate dental benefits (Metcalf et al., 2015). The number of adults using dental care in the country has increased significantly. Although the available data is inadequate, it is agreeable that the ACA has managed to affect the quality of dental care available to more adults in the country.

The provisions of the ACA explain why the law is capable of addressing the dental health needs of many children in the country. The ACA supports increased funding for different health infrastructures. Such finances have been used to support oral programs aimed at supporting the health needs of more children (American Dental Association, 2013). Pediatric dentists have been getting increased grants. These grants have been used to secure quality and evidence-based dental health services for more children in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consulted different oral health agencies in order to launch campaigns focusing on dental education and prevention (Metcalf et al., 2015). More underage children have benefited significantly from these campaigns. The ACA has gone further to expand coverage for more children. Consequently, the number of pediatric patients with sustainable dental insurance covers has increased significantly. Experts also believe that the ACA law will promote new dental insurance plans for more pediatric patients.

The ACA lacks adequate provisions to support the dental health needs of elderly citizens. However, the law allows senior citizens to purchase appropriate dental insurance covers from the marketplace (Nasseh & Vujicic, 2016). When medical and dental health needs meet, senior citizens can receive coverage from Medicare. The law promotes Medicare Advantage whereby the targeted clients can receive dental benefits (Metcalf et al., 2015). Recipients of Medicare are also allowed “to purchase appropriate dental plans on the ACA marketplace” (Metcalf et al., 2015, p. 372). Some states use Medicaid to cater for the oral health needs of senior citizens. The agreeable fact is that the extent of these oral benefits will vary from state A to B. Oral health specialists have gone further to explain how a decision aimed at expanding Medicaid can ensure more elderly citizens in the country have access to quality oral care. This strategy will ensure more elderly people receive equitable and quality dental services.


American Dental Association. (2013). Affordable Care Act and oral health: ADA analysis of impact. Web.

Metcalf, S., Birenz, S., Kunzel, C., Wang, H., Schrimshaw, E., Marshall, S.,…Northridge, M. (2015). The impact of Medicaid expansion on oral health equity for older adults: A systems perspective. Journal of the California Dental Association, 43(7), 369-377.

Nasseh, K., & Vujicic, M. (2016). Early impact of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion on dental care use. Health Services Research, 1(3), 1-13.

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