Medicaid Dental Coverage for Pregnant Women
Some people, who have many problems in their mouth and teeth, may have to undergo many dental procedures and may not be able to afford them. Many people, including pregnant women, with low income can enroll into Medicaid, depending on their state’s program (Galan 2018). Like other people, pregnant women still need to visit the dentist, and fortunately, they can utilize their Medicaid coverage for dental services.
Pregnant women need dental care, but they could postpone some procedures until they give birth to their baby. They should visit the dentist for “Preventive dental cleanings and annual exams” because “The rise in hormone levels during pregnancy causes the gums to swell, bleed, and trap food causing increased irritation to your [women’s] gums” (“Pregnancy And Dental Work” 2017). If these women do not receive preventive care, they can develop “oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth” (“Pregnancy And Dental Work” 2017). Pregnant women should also undergo other needed procedures, such as root canals and extractions in emergencies as well as cavity fillings and crowns “to reduce the chance of infection” (“Pregnancy And Dental Work” 2017). Usually, women in their second trimester can undergo dental procedures safely, but women in their third trimester may find “[lying] on your [their] back[s] [difficult] for an extended period of time” (“Pregnancy And Dental Work” 2017). Expectant women could schedule less urgent procedures, “such as teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures… after the birth” since some procedures may endanger “the developing baby…” (“Pregnancy And Dental Work” 2017).
With Medicaid, pregnant women with low income can pay for their dental care more easily. For pregnant “[w]omen under the age of 21,” the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit allows them to receive some coverage for “comprehensive dental care,” including “the relief of pain and infections, restoration of teeth, and maintenance of dental health” (Haney 2018; Haney 2017). Meanwhile, those “over the age of 21” may receive dental coverage for certain procedures, depending on how their “state sets its own rules for the primary treatment categories,” which are emergency, preventive, restorative, periodontal, oral surgery, and orthodontia (Haney 2018; Haney 2017). For instance, in Louisiana, pregnant women can receive Medicaid coverage for procedures categorized under “Preventive, restorative, periodontal, and oral surgery,” while in Oklahoma, they can receive coverage for procedures categorized under “Preventive and restorative only” (Haney 2018). Generally, states’ Medicaid programs usually cover fillings and root canals in order to “[stop] the spread of infections” and teeth cleanings to “[prevent] gum disease” (Haney 2018). While the states’ programs usually do not cover wisdom teeth extractions, they can cover pregnant women for these procedures in emergencies (Haney 2018). These women would most likely not get orthodontic braces covered “for any cosmetic reason” (Haney 2018).
Expectant women need to visit their dentists in order to take care of their teeth. For those with a tight budget, Medicaid coverage could alleviate the costs of their dental care.