Access to dental care is a major problem for people with disabilities in Wisconsin, including children. We hope you will take action to ask your legislator to support a new bill that will help people get the dental care they need.
- What is happening: A dental therapy bill (LRB 1947) has been introduced in the legislature; dental therapy is also part of a $43 million dental care package announced by Governor Evers that includes increased funding for dentists who serve Medicaid patients. Read the bill here.
- What would the bill do: The bill would allow dental therapists to practice in Wisconsin like they do in other states. A licensed dental therapist works under the supervision of a dentist and can provide important preventative and restorative dental care. The Arc Wisconsin and other disability organizations believe that authorizing dental therapists will increase access to dental care for underserved areas in Wisconsin.
- What you can do: Ask your legislator to co-sponsor the Dental Therapy Bill: LRB 1947; Ask your legislator support the Governor’s Dental funding package
- Find your legislator’s contact information here: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/
- If your legislator has signed on to this bill, say thank you!
Here are things you can say:
- People with disabilities in Wisconsin have great challenges obtaining regular dental care, resulting in many preventable extractions, high rates of periodontal disease, and other poor health outcomes related to inadequate dental care.
- Access to dental care is challenging for people with disabilities and others enrolled in Medicaid. More than 1 million Wisconsinites get dental care through Medicaid but only 37% of the state’s dentists accept Medicaid.
- State data indicates that 29% of adults with disabilities reported having at least one permanent tooth removed over the past year, and 26% said they had not visited a dentist within the past year.
- 1.2 million people live in areas –mostly rural–with dentist shortages. The federal government reports shortages in 64 of our 72 counties.
- Adults with a disability are less likely to visit the dentist for a cleaning, check-up, or exam than people without disabilities (47% and 76%, respectively).
- People with disabilities are more likely to visit the dentist when something was wrong or causing pain (29% and 12%, respectively), as compared to adults without a disability.
People with disabilities in Wisconsin deserve better dental care. Read the coalition letter (The Arc Wisconsin is a member) supporting dental therapy in Wisconsin.
Thank you for supporting this effort!