According to the CDC, about 20% of children ages 5 – 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth. And children ages 5 – 19 from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities.
Researchers exploring the disparities in oral health care, note that children from low-income families experience the greatest amount of oral disease, the most extensive disease, and the most frequent use of dental services for pain relief. Yet these children have the fewest overall dental visits. Although, a significant portion of the children qualify for public health benefits like CHIP and Medicaid, they are often unable to find providers to meet their needs.
DentaQuest has built a network of over 40,000 oral providers who understand the unique circumstances of the underserved Medicaid population and can provide the oral care they require. A shining example is Dr. Flavia Lamberghini, one of 12 2020 recipients of DentaQuest Health Equity Hero award, and her pediatric dental practice, Apple Dental Care in Chicago.
Flavia founded her practice in 2007 with a staff of just two people. Her focus has been to deliver trauma-informed dentistry for at-risk children regardless of socioeconomic status or coexisting medical and behavioral health conditions.
Today, Apple Dental Care has grown to a practice of 42 employees with 80% of the patient base on public aid. They treat each of their patients holistically, recognizing the critical relationship between oral health and overall health. Flavia intends to use her award to bring on a pediatrician and a social worker to her practice furthering her commitment to medical-dental integration.
“The smile from the kid, the hug, a little drawing — I have a desk full of the drawings the kids give to me – those are very rewarding,” Flavia says. “You feel you are making a difference, especially with these kids. We feel that as a team. We feel so proud of what we do.”
Watch this video celebrating Dr. Flavia Lamberghini.