Better Serving the Dental Needs of People with Disabilities
Better Serving the Dental Needs of People with Disabilities

Categories: Health


By Guest Blogger John Morgan, DDS, Associate Professor, Department of Public Health and Community Service at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

What many people consider fairly routine – brushing their own teeth and going to the dentist – can be a major obstacle for people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

Research points to a high prevalence of oral diseases for those with a variety of disabilities. In a study that colleagues at Tufts University and I recently published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, we found that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to have periodontal disease, untreated tooth decay and missing teeth than the general population. Specifically, in our review of the electronic dental records of more than 4,700 people with IDD who received regular dental care, we found:

  • More than 80 percent of all patients had periodontitis (gum disease)
  • 1 in 3 had untreated cavities
  • 10.9 percent of all patients did not have any teeth
  • Those who were 40 years and older had the highest number of decayed, missing and filled teeth

Regular access to comprehensive dental treatment and daily oral home care are vital to promote good oral health, but can be difficult for many people with disabilities to achieve. For example, one of the occupational therapists in a school system where we have an oral health outreach program, brought to our attention that one of the fifth grade students was having a problem with his oral hygiene. He had a progressive muscular disease and a mild intellectual disability.

One of our dental hygienists spoke with the boy and found he wanted more independence as he grew older and no longer wanted help from his mother brushing his teeth. Unfortunately, he was unable to move his arm in the required motion to brush his own teeth. Working together with the hygienist, the occupational therapist designed an extender on an electric toothbrush which allowed him to brush his teeth effectively, live more independently and improve his self-esteem. This simple solution was transformational for him.

When I mentioned this to a colleague of mine who is an occupational therapist, she mentioned her experience over many years of treating patients with neurological involvement or injuries that affect hand or leg function. She saw how these factors could affect her patients’ ability to brush and floss their teeth and go to the dentist. Mobility and command of basic activities of daily living may take priority over oral health needs for patients with disabilities undergoing rehabilitation. Adapting home environments to facilitate tooth brushing, flossing and mouth rinsing often proves challenging for patients and therapists alike.

Oral health is a fundamental part of overall health and well-being, but the challenges to achieving good oral health present a variety of complexities. Speaking, eating, overall health, social interaction (including employability) and quality of life require a healthy mouth and smile. Many factors associated with disabilities contribute to an increased risk for oral disease and impact oral health. Cognitive, physical and behavioral limitations can make it difficult to perform daily oral care and visit a dental office.

Further impacting this complicated picture, many dental offices are not equipped to provide care to patients with disabilities, in large part because they lack specialized training required to provide care for this population. Often dental insurance benefits are not available to those with disabling conditions. In our study, we also found that even with excellent care provided by dentists who are highly trained to treat people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, there remains a high prevalence of disease, signaling the need for additional support and education among caregivers.

My colleagues and I are now looking at ways to assist caregivers in promoting preventive oral health care at home, as well as how and when to access professional dental care. Our research team has just completed more than 800 surveys of paid and family caregivers, and conducted focus groups of key stakeholders to determine the best ways to prevent oral disease and remove barriers to a healthy mouth for adults with disabilities. This information, combined with advances in dental science and the current emphasis on redefining the roles of the health professional, patient and caregiver in promoting oral health, could shape how we manage oral diseases for people with disabilities.

Particularly, as our population ages and lives longer with more disabilities, and our caregiver resources dwindle, the findings of our research could contribute significantly to improving the health of a deserving and vulnerable population.

John Morgan, DDS, is Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health and Community Service at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. The Tufts Dental Facilities Serving People with Special Needs (TDF) is a network of Massachusetts dental clinics that provides oral health care to people with disabilities through a collaboration between Tufts University, the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services and Department of Public Health.


92 Responses to Better Serving the Dental Needs of People with Disabilities

  1. Nancy M. says:

    my teeth are falling out one by one cause of my diabetes they say i dont go outside because i dontwant anyone to see me cause im embarased. i have state insurance from ssi but they dont cover what i need done .i wish there was someone to help me but i cant find noone

  2. John W. says:

    I am a 33 year old disabled man I am on ssdi and Medicare and in need of major dental work but I only get 1,500 dollars a month from ssdi and I have 3 kid’s so I ask how does the Government expect me to have any work done on my teeth? When all I can get is Medicare because they say I make to much to get Medicaid I mean make me laugh “to much)!!?? How is 1,500 dollars to much? When I have 3 kid’s to provide for. I live in Ga. If anyone can or knows anyone that can help me PLEASE let me know, I can barely eat solid foods anymore.

  3. Susana says:

    I have SSDI and Medicaid pays my part B due to the fact that I am medically needy. I have 8 broken tooth and have lost 35lbs. Is a challenge to be in pain while raising 2 babies as a foster mom plus my daughter. I have no money….help

  4. Robert S. says:

    Just discovered this blog, and wondered if anyone knows of a solution for Trismus?

    I have SMA type II and my jaw cannot open wide enough for a dentist or an oral surgeon to get to my back teeth. I have a tooth way in the back that needs to be pulled immediately. I have tried a jaw stretching device, OraStretch Press Rehab System, but I was only able to get just a little bit wider but not good enough for the extraction. My oral surgeon pretty much threw up his hands and refuses to even try again.

    Is there anything else I can do before something major happens?

  5. Randy G. says:

    I’m 49yrs. Old I have a gum diseses my teeth are terrible I can’t have a confident smile. I have medicare but does not cover dental, also have medicad but can’t afford spend down. I live on s.s.d.I. I love life but hate my teeth it depress’es me. I just want a nice smile for once in my life. I try to just live for the day. I also have some mental problems that IF am getting help with but just having a smile to be proud of would help give me more confidence in self. Could someone help me make this big change in my life. So IS can accually get my picture taken with a nice smile for once in my life?

  6. james says:

    My beutifull wife has gum diseas and teath are broke up her health is declining. She had a lovly smile dentest quet was 10,000 what to do. She is 34 watch her die over denal care .whl our gov goes to all overseas to fix other countrys dental.if u can help me for real no gimiks. Thnk james a(her health is at risk)

  7. dental care treatment says:

    This is very informative and it will be very useful for dental problems and I will suggest it to my friends.
    This is very helpful in getting information regarding dental problems and their aftereffects and also the reasons for the problem

  8. Michael L. says:

    Great post. Serving the dental need of people with disabilities is indeed a great help. Maintaining good oral health can help you to improve your overall health.

  9. Elise says:

    I have had a broken tooth on both sides for four months and I cant offered insurance I really need help because I am getting sick idk what to do?

  10. Alice K. F. says:

    I’m disabled and on SSI. Need major dental work. I have 3 real teeth left and its almost gone. I need some assistance desparately.

  11. Lynn D. says:

    We are very fortunate in WI. I’m on SSI, SSDI & our Medicaid program is great. We have excellent dr’s (not all are perfect, no one is!) & a wonderful dentist in Green Lake.
    It’s bad enough having a disability. But your mouth/teeth need treatment too. Medications do play havoc w/your gums, teeth, etc..I’ve had dry mouth for so long I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t have it. Anything w/Xylitol helps. I can’t chew gum so I use lozenges. For those of you that don’t have a dentist, talk to your dr or pharmacist. And don’t use alcohol rinses. It makes matters worse.
    I agree that we should all have the healthcare that we need & deserve. Hopefully it won’t take years for that to happen. Some drs don’t like to take Medicare or Medicaid because of how little they get paid. I’ve seen that.
    I hope this was some help. God Bless.

  12. Robert S. says:

    If you are old, and you work all your life, pay your taxes, pay ssi, you get noting, if you are in a diffirent country, the us will help you.why?

  13. Susan M. says:

    I need say nothing more that is not written, I am a disabled woman. many teeth missing or just broken, it’s not bad enough to have to suffer the pain of my disabilitys, I have to endure the pain from just drinking a glass of nutrional drink as i can’t eat because of the pain or fear that one of the last few will break. Please HELP

  14. shelia b. says:

    I has medicard help new denture in plant

  15. ardis c.-s. says:

    i am disabled and retired. my health is bad due to my constant absessed teeth. i had champva thru va but as the widowed spouse i couldn’t do any dental. now i have run into the problem that the va wont even take me medically because now i get medicare. im stuck. help!!!

  16. Tract B. says:

    I am on SSDI, in the state of Illinois, medicaid has cut out dental work, the only thing they will do now is pull a tooth. No cavities filled and no dentures. I find this to be insane! How does the US expect us to pay for the expense of Dental Costs! I hardly ever me my Medicaid Spend down so I can’t get a darn thing, and that includes glasses which I am in desperate need as well as dental!

    • Mary E. P., RN says:

      Your local Lion’s Club will get you new glasses and an eye exam for free.
      That’s what they do with the money they fund-raise.

    • Brian says:

      HI, I agree totally. I have SSDI 29 years paying into the system. It basically have become catastrophic insurance. I as well am in desperate need of dental care and only have vision in one eye. I goes SSDI considers eyesight and teeth a luxury not a necessity. Yes, it is insane, considering my employer and I paid close to 500,000.00 into FICA. , which is not much. But, everyone does not get sick or die at once, if the damn corrupt politian’s would have kept their greedy fingers out of the SS System there would be a surplus of monies, but we will not go there – you might as well be speaking to the wall, and /or the unconscious.

  17. Michele says:

    As a single disabled parent, who receives Social Security Disability and who somehow did not qualify for medicaid, I had no ‘Dental” coverage. It cost $118.00 just to walk into a non-local dental clinic. My abscessed tooth could not be completely drained on the first visit. They gave me antibiotics and sent me on my way. Within 24 hours my face was twice the size and the pain excruciating, had to go to the ER for intravenous antibiotics as was told that I could die from the infection. The next day had to go back to the Dental Clinic for yet another $118 to get the tooth extracted. In the meanwhile, the ER visit was also “not-covered” and received a completely separate bill from the Dentist that worked at the hospital. Absurd and ludicrous is that poor people are simply not afforded dental health care. Just another way to keep em sick and coming back for more. Unbelievable disregard of human life. Healthcare? Dental care? Get well, stay well, and make sure you have money just laying around to care for your families medical needs.

  18. jose r. says:

    Its been years i havent seen a dentist because i do not have any dental insurance. I would like information to have my teeth checked up.

  19. Kathy A. says:

    Medicaid will not cover nitrous oxide gas sedation for dental procedures for my grandson, who is autistic, or another grandson with ADHD. The dentists say it is not safe for the patient and wants to refer them to a dentist 45 miles from home. Pediatric dentists will not treat them beyond the age of 8.

  20. Vana says:

    I have a neurological disease, am on SSDI and would like to be able to afford better dental care. I don’t see any monthly plans around anymore…. Not addressed n Obamacare, either.

  21. Carolyn M. says:

    Deena G. brings up a very good point. Those of us that take a lot of meds, especially opiate derivative pain meds, deal with dry mouth and therefore decay at the gum line frequently. Doctors and dentists could help by training patients to rinse and use a special prescription fluoride toothpaste as a preventative measure. Also, as a person with Major Depressive Disorder I can speak for myself and say that sometimes it is very difficult to get motivated enough to just get out of bed and then when I have my chronic pain flare ups it is even worse. Brushing my teeth and flossing sometimes just gets forgotten in the middle of everything else. Having disabilities is a lot more difficult than most people ever even begin to realize. Why doesn’t the government think dental programs are an important part of our health program anyway?

    • Karen W. says:

      Reading your letter here about the Dental help I noticed you sound just like me in every way… I just wanted to Reach out is all … Others do not understand anything… Where do you live? I live in the Houston area in Texas…

      Karen W.

  22. Daniel S. says:

    I am disabled and can’t afford dental care. I have several missing teeth and some are broken. I know this is affecting my health, but what can I do?

    • Amber M. says:

      I also have several missing and broken teeth. Which has been the cause of several job losses,the pain of a mouth like mine can be unbearable most times..I am seeking help through the Utah state office of vocational rehabilitation in which I HAVE been accepted for this program due to the several disabilities that I suffer from. I feel they have not treated my definite need for dental medical attention,in which should be just as important as any other medical need. Anyone have any suggestions. I am in desperate need of dental care and have recieved nothing but excuses from the Utah state office of vocational rehabilitation for the 10 months that I have been eligible for services. My? Is why don’t they think that your dental health is irrelevant compared to others physical / of health needs. Sounds like discrimination to me and to alot others I have spoken with. Let me also say that I have had substance abuse issues in the past which has made it extremely difficult in dealing with the pain without use of pain medication ..I am in need of some suggestions on what I can do to make this agency understand the importance of your dental health!!!

  23. Richard Scott B. says:

    Age 40, SSA & SSI. Lost dental care when cut from MediCal. Have many – most all – painful, broken teeth. Diabetic 38 years. Desperate. Where can I get help in San Diego County, preferably North County Coastal?

  24. Patrick C. says:

    I live in Pahrump Nevada and I am on my Disability. I had 48 surgeries and am in need of Dental help. I too am one who can not afford Dental work and have no Dental Ins.


  25. Peter M. says:

    I would like info on if there are any dental assistance programs for people like myself.I live in cliffside park,n.j. and i am permenently on s.s.d. and receiving medicare as i am mentally & physically disabled and my monthly cost of living is way above my monthly benefits my income is just about $13,000 a year and i live a very humble exsistence! even though that amount in n.j. were i live keeps me from being available for medicaid for the reason that i make to much. but if i were eligible for medicaid i would be able to get some dental work done, as i have not been to the dentist in in about twenty years except for once about 5 years ago to pull out about 7 of my teeth that were to far gone from cavities being left untreated cause it was financialy impossible for me to have them taken care of, and i try to keep up with taking care of my teeth but i am on multiple medications that cause decay at a rapid rate.i was so sick from pain i actually started prying the loosest teeth from my mouth that were most decayed cracking several leaving me with teeth half there and some broken clean at the gum line causing me to get an abcess thus having to go to the dentist 5 years ago, but i still have several teeth that are broken at the gumline and i have 2 impacted wisdom teeth pushing thru my gums and what few teeth i have left are all in the front and most have cavities that can be easily treated but i cannot afford to go to a dentist and i brush and floss everyother day, i am barely surviving now with my monthly benefits yet medicare has no dental programs that i know of? i guess whoever decides these guidelines finds that having dental care for people like myself is not a priority and its no major health concern to loose all your teeth for not having dental insurance or being unable to work due to disabilities and having to collect s.s.d. benefits that amount to no more than $13,300 annually is to much to live on with out having extra$ left over for the dentist? if i lived anymore humbler i would be certainly homeless but i would have dental care? there must be another way, im only 43 and ashamed to smile, are there any programs for help for people like myself that make to much, but not enough at the same time? thank you.

  26. Barbara G. says:

    I have been trying, begging, for over 3 years to get Dept. of Rehab to help me with my dental problems to which they’ve yet to do. I’ve had problems all my life with a crowded mouth and decay.

  27. peri f. says:

    I am on ssi only. I cannot afford the $2000.+ bill at westrn dental to care for my dentures and fixing the teeth that aredecayed and need caps or crowns and rebbuilding due to weaknesses in enamel. I am 51 yrs old but have medicines i have to crush or chew up inorder to absorb them. I haf a gastric bypass in 2008′ and have just begun to get healthier. I have a spinal injury and leg injury which limit my mobility but i keep active at gym. But being in public with misding and broken teeth is not good for my confidence or self esteem let alone my health. Please help.

  28. aw h. says:

    This problem is serious–and–we can solve it! Raise your voices to improve health services for those who need OUR support. That is what democracy is for. Share this need with your family and friends. TOGETHER we can DO IT.

  29. Connie says:

    I have the disease and it stinks. All dental service is willing to set up an account. But I dont have what and when money to pay, so i wont sign. Nothing done, my only choices.

  30. Pat M. says:

    Hello, is there anywhere in VA to get dental help?

  31. dan j. says:

    I’ve many missing teeth and need help replacing. Thank you.

  32. Joan W. says:

    As the 80 year old mother of a 50 yr old son with schizo/affective disorder, I see my son not having brushed his teeth in years. He is a client of the Mental Health Center of our counry but it seems that noone can do anything for or with him.
    Just letting off steam–

  33. Kathleen B. says:

    My comments relate to my husband. He has had stomach related disease since his military service. He has a military connected disability for this reason. For about 30 years he received VA dental services citing reflux as the reason. A few years ago the VA took this benefit away from him, said he had to have a 100% disability to have dental services. We were in no position financially to do anything else. His teeth are crumbling in his mouth. His ability to eat is minimal. We went to dentist and got an estimate to pull and replace with dentures and the cost is in the thousands and total is questionnable until they get into the process. Help.

  34. Ken B. says:

    I was unable to learn how to brush correctly for a long time. I have exceded 50 fillings in my lifetime.

    Tooth decay or “tooth infection” can get into the body. Could that cause lifetime health issues like toxic waste?

  35. Cindy L. B. says:

    I’m on medicare and last year I ended up with no teeth left. I’m only 55 and not bad looking until I smile or try to eat in front of someone. Because of this I go no where. At the moment I’m having work done so that in a few years maybe I’ll have upper and lower teeth. The thing is the only way I could have it done was to use my Care Credit card to have it done which 10,00.00 was put on it making my monthly pymts. 400.00 a month until it’s paid off. I’ve NEVER spent that much money in my life. I still at this moment have no teeth. Believe it or not this has been dragging on since March 2012. I sure do feel like I’m being taken since I’m just one of the little guys. I do not recommend going to Dr. Taylors office unless you’re rolling in dough. After all they have already been paid and there is nothing I can do about this!

  36. Gina K says:

    I am on SSA Disability and do not have the financial ability to see a dentist. I’ve been in pain with my teeth hurting trying to eat. Is there any dental care to assist me with taking care of my teeth

  37. D V says:

    Unfortunately, SSDI only covers medical, it does not cover dental. My medications do cause problems, one of which is lowering my immune system. When this happened, I started having problems with my gums and teeth. What kind of affordable dental coverage is there for those of us on SSDI. Our income is small and our medical/dental expenses are high. Since our medical and dental needs impact each other, why aren’t they both addressed in SSDI coverage?

  38. Larie Ptehn says:

    I need help with my decaying teeth and gums

  39. D. Clark says:

    Yes, I have the dry mouth syndrome (LOL) as well. I spend far to much time and money that I can’t afford to spend and often do not spend money on my teeth as they are often the last item that is budgeted.

  40. RUBYE W. says:


  41. Lynda K. says:

    I have just been notified by my employer (JC Penny} that even thought I am already part time, I did have some insurance, but as of 1 Jan. j.c. will no longer participate in my insurance . ??

  42. Mikeal R. L. says:

    I always took excellent care of my teeth untill I became disabled to work…I have not been able to see a Dentist in 6 to 8 yr. now and my teeth don’t hurt, but need cleaning urgently from yrs. of build up on them, and they shood be xrayed… Can I get help??

  43. Chris M. says:

    How can a disabled person like myself get dental care.I am on SSI?

  44. Jessiesgyrl says:

    I receive SSDI, live in Tennessee and have no dental insurance .

  45. Elizabeth S. says:

    I am a Dental Hygienist in MA who is on disability. I have a daughter with disabilities who has had some issues with her teeth on the past. It is still a huge struggle to get her to understand the importance of good dental hygiene. She has a HUGE lack of attention to whatever task is at hand, so it is also a challange to get her to ty to pay attention and think about what she is doing while brushing. I am VERY aware of how important it is for the people with developmental disabilities to get education, occupational therapy and treatment. I would love to volunteer my time to help other people like my daughter.

  46. Vadie J M. says:

    I have been 100% disabled since 2007. I have 2 teeth that need attention, and need cleaning badly. I am 64, female with income of 1,017 single. I live in Mountain City, TN and want to know is there a program at East Tn State University Johnson City, Tn that will give me free care.

  47. Karen T says:

    I also have MAJOR dental issues that need immediate attention. I am on SSI/Disability. I have called my local Health Department that has a dental clinic and a recorded voice tells you to leave your information and someone will call me back. I’ve never received a call back. I have no access to transportation. Any help out there for myself, as well as others like myself? Please…..any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

  48. mike l. says:

    why is it that poor people in small areas, such as in Missouri, where I live, have to pay 100.00 dollars for each bad tooth pulled?-doesn’t the government relize that many health problems come from infected, rotten teeth?-the government can send billions overseas to provide health care for other county people, but I have to pay 100.00 bucks out of my disability check?

  49. M. Landis says:

    Is there any way to get assistance from SSD for Dental work? My back injury prohibits me from brushing properly, but any inquiries in this regard have been met with an inconsiderate, negative reply. Any information would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

    M.A. Landis

  50. martha b says:

    Dental would be a luxury. I am on SSI for physical disabilities and Medicaid in Louisiana won’t even pay for Pain Management. If you leave Dental up to he states and don’t find a way to make it mandatory for those with disabilities, many will be left out.

  51. Missy B. says:

    Yes I would like to find out about a location in Dallas,Texas. Because I am in need of dental assintance.

  52. Paul S. says:

    My Problem is not with Dental Services..My Dentist is amazing. Rather the Problem lays in Insurance Coverage..Medicare & Massheath don’t cover most dental procedures these days.

    If I have a Cavity in the front of my mouth they will only pay..But if it is in the back forget it..You have to pay..My Insurance would rather have the Dentist pull the tooth rather than fill it & save it..

    My Dentist gets frustrated by this cause he feels as though he can’t give proper care to his patients cause the insurance tie his hands..

    The Insurance needs to change.. I used to get teeth filled no problem but with cuts Filling are pretty much no longer covered..

  53. Geems says:

    I can absolutely use assistance with my oral health care!!! With Dissability you are limited to income!!

  54. paula r. says:

    i am very interested in dental care.I do have netnd need dental care.i have a top dental plate that is 33yrs old missing teeth etc. and only two teeth on the bottom both broken off to the gums.I would love to not only be able to smile again,i would be able to eat a more healthy diet.Please send more info on how to recieve dental care.I am also disabled.

  55. Sue R. says:

    So what are the best ways to promote preventative health care at home ? I am a caregiver for an adult male with an “oral aversion”. What are the best ways to prevent oral disease? There are many barriers to getting professional help from a dentist or hygientist
    ? What do you suggest?

  56. Donald C. says:

    My wife of 37 years lost all of her teeth last year due to her illnesses and the medication that she needed to sustain her health. It seems that the Federal government should help those that need dental care, and are not able to afford it, due to their disabilities. There is so very much waste in Congress and State Government, that some of this could be utilized for a much needed concern as dental coverage for the needy. My son is on a meager SSI check and cannot get anything, while his teeth rot in his mouth. He will turn out like my wife, if not worse. There is shame in this, people.

  57. ken o. says:

    disabled vietnam vet i need immediate surgery to remove 3 infected teeth. the va does not provide dental care for vets below 50% disability.

  58. janice g. says:

    My adult son needs to have his teeth(allrotting) removed, and have mini implants put in. He has a feet of dentures falling out. Can you direct us to some affordable treatment in VA 24012 area.

  59. Walter D. says:

    I to am on disability,only have 5 lower teeth left that are in very bad condition,have no means to get treated.Is there any help i can receive?

  60. Victoria w says:

    I am a disabled vet. The us army pulled four teeth to put braces on. Then they removed them for me to deploy to Iraq. They never put them back on and they won’t pay or finish the work they started now that I am out. Please help me. Thank you.

  61. Luis D. says:

    I am on medicare and open Medicaid how can I get a provider for a deep cleaning. I have periodontal disease. Please help! Luis

  62. Katherine A. says:

    I do not have ANY dental coverage and my teeth are rotting away due to the many meds I take daily for an incurable and rare disease called Systemic Mastocytosis. I hate to talk close to anyone and I also have bad breath. I have no car and gave up driving five years ago.

  63. rick k. says:

    Can youll help any with implants,? Im on ssdi. Thanks rick

  64. Paula C. says:

    Can you suggest a dentist? I need to go and have my teeth checked. I live in Boca Raton, FL 33433. I am having a hard time finding a dentist because their fees are so high. One dentist charged me five thousand dollars for one tooth. Thank you .

  65. rick k. says:

    Can youll help any with implants, i am on ssdi. Thank you, rick

  66. Detrick W. says:

    My Teeth And Gums, Fillings and other problem in my mouth is very serious and I need some Dental Care immediately , but because I am On Disability I can’t afford to get the help that is needed and the money to keep the maintain the healthy Dental Care. I need Free Help Please!!!!

  67. Robert S. says:

    I live in Michigan and have Medicare and Medicad. My teeth are the worst you will ever see because of the Meds I take and the Chemo and radiation treatments I have had. My teeth are breaking off, I have a lot of cavities and my gums and teeth hurt something awful. I have not been to a dentist for the last 5 years because of no insurance. What can I do. We live on my SSI disability and just make it on that some months.

  68. William Mc. says:

    Insurance will not pay for dental or eye care…! The gov.does NOT give us the Cost OF Living Adjustment EQUAL to the rate of inflation that is REQUIRED by Fed.Law and I can’t pay for my basic needs. I’m a 60 yr old man…sitting on the sofa waiting to die….

  69. danielle says:

    Lack of equipment? Lol try medicaid doesnt cover cavities or anything but extractions or were u unaware that medicaid is the heakth insurance coverage for 9 out of 10 disabled people in America. This is a very uneducated article.

  70. William Mc. says:

    I’ve been disabled since 1999. I have to take a lot of Rx meds. Since the early 1990s I had Stevens Johnson Syndrome outbreak 3 times and the Drs. Did not know what it was.! Each tim e,all the skin came out of my mouth and lips and I would have teeth turn black and break off..! Last Dec.2012 I had 1st. And burns over 90% of my body both outside AND inside,all my toenails and fingernails came off and my TEETH have all died and broke off. It also damaged my eyes. I was in the hospital over 2 weeks,had a blood transfusion Insurance will NOT pat

  71. danielle says:

    Most people with disabilities are on medicaid. As a person on medicaid from a disability, you would know that its not the lack of knowledge anyone who knows where a library is has literature and free internet. The problem is that medicaid doesnt even try to cover anything for adults in the dental department except extractions. So i have 14 untreated cavities due to the medications i take i have beautiful teeth but ive thought about pulling them all aand getting dentures because its painful and i dont know about the rest of America on medicaid a low income health insurance as obviously known as. We dont have 50.00-80.00 Each cavity every 4-5 years. So until theres an article that is actually helpful please dont headline something thats obviously not affordable to people with disabilities. Kids arent the only people who deserve prevenitive care, thats not even preventitive care if u already have cavities to the point its painful to do anything. Writing an article about how much worse people with disabilities teeth are opposed to the general population is pretty unprofessional and a bit offending if u cant come up with resources or solutions

  72. Lin L. says:

    I am also on SSD & it uses my entire monthly income- just for a “Denture” visit—- PLEASE HELP ……

  73. Denise says:

    I am on SSDI. I went 2-3 years with very little dental care because just getting food in me was first and foremost. Now that I’m better able to take care of myself, I still have memory issues that I need to go brush my teeth. I’ve already lost 2 teeth and I’m sure there are other issues with the ones I have left. I have Medicare but I believe that they don’t focus on dental care because most Medicare patients are elderly and may not have any teeth. They still need oral care and the help needed to get good nutrients into their system.

  74. Sandra S. says:

    My son had tongue cancer and they removed part of his tongue and told him he needs to go to dentist and be check on a regular basis, but guess what we can’t find a dentist that accepts medicaid. We are keeping watch ourselves and pray it doesn’t return.

  75. Rick B. says:

    It would also help to make Dental Care more affordable for low income people! Perhaps have it covered for adults by Medicaid.

  76. Paula F. says:

    Where can people who are disable and have very low incomes get care???? My teeth too are deteriorating and falling out due to meds and all the the surgeries I endured which ultimately disabled me. Can’t afford health insurance and even if I could the preexisting damage would not be covered. I get Medicare in November, but it does not cover dental. Know my health would improve immensely if I could get remaining teeth pulled and get dentures but cannot afford it on my income???? What help is available????

  77. Maria R. says:

    I am a 65yr Woman who is disable I was working a P/T job and after 3 months I nearly fell at work and it seems that I will be having back surgery never thought I will be walking with a walker but that its fine as long as I may walk Thank God.
    I was trying to put a little money away since I need Denture,but specially the bottom denture since I only have 3 teeth of my own and the other are cracked.
    I appreciate any help some fair teeth that when I am well I could look for a p/t job and be able to pay for some of my dental work,Sincerely

  78. julio says:

    Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care has a great training for staff and the people we serve on the importance of oral hygiene.

  79. Therese says:

    I am a Hospital liaison and Cae Mgr for a Mental Health Agency – I have several clients that cannot afford to have dental work done due to being on SSI. State Medicaid only pays for extractions for adults – some of my clients need work – not extractions. Please send info regarding dental assistance in my area (26301). Thank you!

  80. RICKY G. says:


  81. deborah says:

    I don’t have my smile,i lost it when my teeth have broke and missing help me..i live in tn hickman county

  82. Debra W. says:

    I am disabled for life. I have no dental insurance and can not afford to see a dentist. I live alone and my only income is my disability check.

  83. rhonda s. says:

    i would like more info. on getting dental help i am currently on ssi and my teeth are terrible. thank you

    • Larie P. says:

      I have lost most of my teeth and have caviteys in most that ate left

    • Melissa says:

      Rhonda, there is the Family Health center, but I only recommend the one on at Sheridan and Portage , not sure where you are located or you can go to the U of M in Ann Arbor!

    • Leanne W. says:

      Rhonda, I too am on SSDI & have been in the same position you are in now. I do not know what state you live in; however, you might want to check with your Local Health Department and they may be able to direct you to a state run dental clinic that will accept Medicaid – if you have that – or a dental clinic that will do the necessary work on a sliding fee basis.

  84. Deena G. says:

    I need a Dentist for my decaying and guns because of all the meds I take too stay alive.