Delta Dental Programme Making A Difference In Colorado

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A dental programme run by Delta Dental has helped more than 500 people in Fort Collins, Colorado, to see a dentist.

The programme, which is aimed to benefit poor residents, provides two years of free dental insurance; across the state more than 6,000 people have enrolled in the scheme and Delta Dental has paid more than $2 million in claims.

Governor John Hickenlooper joined the programme last year; he said that in most cases dental diseases are preventable, but dental care costs the state of Colorado more than $1 billion per year. Most of the people affected are low income residents.

According to figures from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, standards of oral health have improved, with rates of decay around 48 per cent lower in kindergarten children and 46 per cent lower in third grade children than in 2003-2004. The number of children having preventative treatment, including sealant treatment, has increased considerably over the last five years.

Despite the positive figures, more can be done and there are still a lot of people who cannot afford to see a dentist; in 2011, more than 2 million people in Colorado did not have dental insurance, which represents a 17 per cent increase from 2008. Research shows that people who have dental insurance are twice as likely to visit a dentist as patients without insurance.

Many of the patients who enrolled in the Delta Dental scheme needed immediate dental care; restorative treatments, including fillings and crowns, were the most popular type of treatment.

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