UW Today

February 24, 2012

School of Dentistry lowers fees for Medicaid-eligible patients

UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine

The UW School of Dentistry has announced that it will offer special reduced treatment fees to Medicaid-eligible patients. The new fee schedule, called the UW Community Dental Plan, features prices discounted as much as 85 percent below average dental fees in the Seattle area. The new fees are currently scheduled to be implemented in late March.

Prices will be $58 for a comprehensive oral exam, which includes a full oral health evaluation, a complete set of dental X-rays and a treatment plan. Other procedures include one-surface fillings for $32, root canals for $235 and complete upper or lower dentures for $390, excluding the cost of any needed extractions.

By reducing its charges for preventive and restorative dental services, the UW School of Dentistry hopes to help patients avoid unnecessary extractions.

By reducing its charges for preventive and restorative dental services, the UW School of Dentistry hopes to help patients avoid unnecessary extractions.

“We know that many people have put off or forgone treatment altogether during the economic downturn,” said Interim Dean Tim DeRouen. “Were hoping that this move will help preserve access to dental care for patients who cant afford it otherwise.”

While emphasizing that the schools clinics cannot provide free care, DeRouen said the Community Dental Plan fees will be the lowest the School can offer. All patients who present  a current Washington state DSHS card will be eligible, he said.

Many such patients lost their dental coverage at the start of 2011 when the state eliminated adult dental benefits for all but pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and dental emergencies. This remaining coverage, except for dental emergencies, has also been targeted for elimination in the governors proposed budget now under consideration by the Legislature.

“By reducing our fees to this level, we hope to make it possible for more DSHS patients to afford the dental care they need,” DeRouen said. “In addition, we hope fewer people will opt for extractions and will instead save their teeth with restorative dental treatment. We also hope this will help more patients get preventive care that can help forestall much more expensive treatment down the road.”

Medicaid-eligible patients will be seen at the schools student clinics, where third-year and fourth-year dental students deliver treatment under the close supervision of experienced faculty members. The clinics regular fees are about 40 percent less than the average in Seattle dental offices.

For information on the UW Community Dental Plan or to make an appointment, people should call 206-616-6996. More information about the schools clinical care is available on the Web at www.huskydental.org.