The Louisiana Dental Association (LDA) is lobbying to keep dentists from taking their services into schools, according to newspaper reports and the head of a mobile dentistry group. "It's a horrible thing," said Gregory Folse, D.D.S., of Lafayette, LA, whose Big Smiles organization triggered the initiative when it began making dental visits to Louisiana schools. "We're seeing kids that nobody else would see." Dr. Folse, who also specializes in bringing dentistry to nursing home patients, said he had recruited 15 dentists who each work one day a week treating children in their schools. Big Smiles pays the dentists involved by filing through Medicaid, for which nearly all the children are eligible. He estimated that 432,000 children in Louisiana have not seen a dentist in the past year, and Big Smiles has treated 4,000 of them so far, he said. The LDA has asked legislators to pass a law prohibiting dentistry in schools, Dr. Folse said.
Study after study point to the connection between oral health and a person's general well-being. However, for thousands of Americans waiting for an organ transplant each year, maintaining good oral health, free of infection, is critical for successful organ transplantation and requires specialized dental care. In light of Organ Donor Awareness Month this April, the University of Southern California School of Dentistry is raising awareness about the importance of oral health for both organ donors and recipients.
Claiming unconstitutional taxation, the Arizona Dental Association and 12 other health care associations sued the state for recovery of more than $13.2 million swept from professional licensing boards for budgetary reasons. The state dental board took the hardest financial hit, according to the suit filed April 8 in Maricopa County Superior Court. "Our members were definitely upset about the sweeps," said Dr. Regina Cobb, dentist plaintiff and AzDA president when the suit was filed. "We feel we were double taxed." The Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners "can't really do their normal investigations," she said. "They're just running on a shoestring right now. Professionally, I think all of us were harmed." Dr. Cobb practices in Kingman. Kevin Earle, AzDA executive director, said the Arizona legislature took $5.6 million from the dental board in April and June 2008 sweeps and transferred monies swept from the various licensing boards to the state's general fund.