Watching television commercials, and the apparent growing obsession with white teeth in the United States, you would think that dental health is of primary importance to most Americans. And yet millions fail to follow basic guidelines on oral health, such as regular cleanings. There are many reasons for this, the most obvious being the high cost of dental care. Another is lack of insurance, which again places patients in the difficult position of caring for their teeth versus more immediate expenses.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), this lack of dental care comes at great expense to a person’s overall health. Here are a few of the ADA’s sobering statistics:1
Twenty-seven percent of adults over 20 have untreated cavities.
Ninety-one percent of Americans over 20 have had cavities at some point in their lives.
There are substantially greater rates of untreated dental disease among African Americans (42 percent) and Hispanics (36 percent).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in another report, offers similarly grim statistics:2
Percent of children ages 5-19 with untreated dental cavities: 18.6 (2011-2014)
Percent of adults ages 20-44 with untreated dental cavities: 31.6% (2011-2014)
Percent of children ages 2-17 with a dental visit in the past year: 84.7% (2015)
Percent of adults ages 18-64 with a dental visit in the past year: 64.0% (2015)
Percent of adults ages 65 and over with a dental visit in the past year: 62.7% (2015)
Among adults ages 20–64, 91% had dental cavities and 27% had untreated tooth decay.
Adults ages 20–39 were twice as likely to have all their teeth (67%) compared with those ages 40–64 (34%).
About one in five adults ages 65 and over had untreated tooth decay
The ADA stresses the importance of prevention in staving off dental and gum disease. The problem is access. Many people, especially those in rural or impoverished regions, do not have access to a dentist. Some, like the elderly, do not have insurance coverage, and their fixed incomes leave little room for dental expenses.
That’s where portable dentistry comes in. This new trend in dental access brings the dentist to the patient, especially those in need. Common localities where mobile dentists operate are:
Inner city schools
Native American reservations
Although the scope of practice is more limited in mobile dentistry, and complex procedures are difficult if not impossible in some instances, mobile dental suction machine can provide many treatments, most geared at preventive care.