Dawn Elliott hasn’t had consistent dental care throughout her life. She experiences anxiety when visiting the dentist, and that has deterred her from scheduling regular appointments and prioritizing her oral health. But now she’s an expecting mother, so her priorities have changed.
Pregnancy is an important time to focus on oral health to reduce bad bacteria before the baby is born. For most people, dental care is safe during all stages of pregnancy. Missouri Medicaid currently offers comprehensive dental benefits to pregnant people that end shortly after delivery. A push to expand postpartum Missouri Medicaid coverage from 60 days to one year would provide oral health treatment for primary caregivers up until the baby’s first birthday, the recommended time of a child’s first visit.
“Hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect gum health. Regular dental care can help prevent pregnancy gingivitis and pain,” Dr. Camille Tague, Cass County Dental Clinic dentist, said. “Oral health during pregnancy is very important.”
Dawn encountered Cass County Dental Clinic through her Medicaid coverage. As a resident of Belton, Missouri, she’s able to visit the clinic in her own community and receive treatment that ensures the health of herself and her baby. After her first visit in December 2022, Dawn has nearly completed her treatment plan and is well on her way to achieving good oral health.
Cass County Dental Clinic, a program of Cass Community Health Foundation, is a nonprofit clinic that provides dental services to children and adolescents from birth through age 20 who are insured through Missouri Medicaid or who are uninsured and low-income. Patients can schedule appointments Monday through Friday in Belton, Missouri as well as Tuesday and Wednesday in Harrisonville, Missouri. To learn more about the clinic, visit casscountydentalclinic.org.