Future of Dental Care in the US Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1623 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Health - Nursing

Dental Care in the Future

Cosmetics, Elderly Care and Managed Care Insurance Will Increase

This paper presents a detailed examination of what the future of dental care looks like in the United States. The writer explores the topics of cosmetic dental care, elderly dental care and the concerns about managed dental care as they pertain to the future of the field. There were three sources used to complete this paper.

As the world continues to move forward, society's expectations continue to advance as well. It was not long ago when dental care involved a few cursory check-ups and a visit when a cavity got bad enough to hurt. In recent history however, the world of dentistry has exploded with knowledge of the importance of preventative care, cosmetic options and the concerns of the elderly who are living longer than ever before and attempting to maintain healthy teeth and gums. As American settles comfortably into the new millennium attention turns to the cost and delivery of dental care. Managed dental care has moved to the forefront of concern with regards to the future and it is something that will become a reality in most areas of the nation soon (End, 1999 (http://www.prnewswire.com/orbis/2713/jump_consumer.html).With the changes in coverage and the understanding of the importance of preventive care growing the future of dental care is in for some significant changes.

DENTAL CARE HISTORY

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The beginning of the 20th century viewed the field of dentistry as an industry that was concerned with handling the pain and sickness caused by major tooth decay and infection (End, 1999 (http://www.prnewswire.com/orbis/2713/jump_consumer.html).Appearance was secondary and those who needed a dentist normally waited until the tooth was too far gone to be saved before seeking treatment.

During that era there was also very little known about the genetics of oral health. Today, the industry is aware of the importance that genetics plays, not only in bite and disease but also in the need for preventative and proactive care as well.

THE FUTURE

Term Paper on Future of Dental Care in the US Assignment

In examining and forecasting the future of dental care in America one must look at the overall picture. With the medical field continuing to lengthen the average lifespan, a need will develop to maintain oral health for more years than previously needed. In addition, there is now evidence that the way a bite is aligned not only has an impact on appearance but also has an impact on overall oral health and how long it lasts. Add to the mix the many insurance issues that are currently being faced by the providers as well as the consumers and it becomes obvious that managed care in the dental field will become the norm. All of the elements mean that the future of dental care is going to change in ways never before imagined.

HOW

With more than 20 large class action suits already facing the dental industry because of allegations that the poor and disabled are not receiving care that is vital to their basic health the filed has been working to make changes that will help alleviate the problems.

Along with changes to how the poor are provided treatment there are bound to be changes in how the wealthy view dental cares as well (Office, 2006). Bleaching, whitening, braces as children and again as adults are all becoming commonplace practice in United States dentistry.

Currently the market enjoys a majority of fee for services practice. This is where the consumer pays for services rendered as opposed to paying a premium that provides whatever coverage may be needed in the future. Managed healthcare has been a staple in America for several decades and has been fraught with issues and complaints about the quality and level of service the participants provide (Delta Dental the Future of Dental Care in the U.S. (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/evolution.html).To date the dental field has managed to a void becoming mostly driven by managed care however if changes are not made so that the lower income consumers can receive treatment this might change in the future.

The majority of those working in the oral health field would prefer to reduce the amount of managed dental care that American's subscribe to for a variety of reasons including profit margins, ability to deliver services and the quality of service that will be maintained. The future of dental care will include efforts by those in the field to maintain fee per service as a norm for the field.

Recent research indicates there will be several things that can be done to help reach this goal.

By reducing their overhead costs, incorporating computerized office management systems and electronic claims submission, and by carefully monitoring their own billing and utilization practices, dentists can help preserve existing marketshare for fee-for-service, freedom-of-choice dentistry (Delta Dental the Future of Dental Care in the U.S. (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/evolution.html)."

While the effort will be made to minimize the amount of managed care the nation experiences the fact remains that managed dental care is here to stay. One of the things that the future will be seeing in the field of dental care is that dentists will begin to diversify to work within the managed care field.

Dentists of the future will be more driven to participate in PPO and HMO contracts with various insurance companies so that they can continue to have a growing customer database as those companies send clients to their doors.

Another change that will continue in the future is the number of Americans who have dental insurance coverage.

Oral health has improved dramatically in the United States between 1970 when fewer than six million Americans had dental coverage, and today when more than 161 million Americans are covered (Dental benefits improve oral health (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/benefits.html)."

According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Dental Research the number of cavities being found in children has continued to decline since the 1970's as well. In 1970 the average child had seven cavities and today that number has been reduced to three.

Working adults also enjoy increased dental health and will continue the trend into the future according to recent studies that examined the working adult dental health in America (Dental benefits improve oral health (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/benefits.html).

These findings echo those of many other studies, including one by the Institute of Medicine, which found that regular dental care has resulted in a dramatic reduction in dental diseases, saving patients an estimated $4 billion a year (Dental benefits improve oral health (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/benefits.html)."

According to the experts future dental care for individual Americans is going to depend on whether they have coverage. Studies have concluded it will be the single most determining factor when it comes to dental care in the future of the nation.

People who have dental coverage will be twice as likely to seek out care than those who do not have coverage and those who seek out care will base many of their dental care decisions on the type of coverage that they have.

One of the primary concerns for dental care in the future will be the elderly.

Advances in medical science have made it possible to live longer than ever before and this means that oral health will become vital to that quality of life for the nation's senior citizens.

The payments that insurance companies pay out is also on the rise. This may be due to an increase in coverage purchase or an increase in service prices, but most likely it is a combination of them both.

Dental expenditures paid for by private insurance programs have grown from $10 million in 1960 (10% of all expenditures), to $24 billion in 1997 (50%) (Waldman, HB, "Who is Paying for Dental Care?" Compendium of Continuing Education, Vol. 13, No. 7) (Dental benefits improve oral health (http://www.deltadentalca.org/trends/benefits.html)."

In spite of these figures the actual expenditure of dental care… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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