According to a recent study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health, black Americans receive poorer dental care than white Americans, even when they have some dental insurance coverage.
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Dental Medicine, surveyed 118 black American adults living in New York City who had recent oral health symptoms and found that despite 75% of of them having at least some type of dental insurance coverage, this was largely limited to Medicaid (50%) rather than private coverage (21%) or other types of dental insurance (4%).
In addition, the study found that those surveyed indicated several insurance-related dental care problems such as insufficient coverage for needed treatments, inability to find a dentist who accepts their insurance, and having to wait usually long for their coverage to take effect.
Dr. Eric Schrimshaw, assistant professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School, described it this way; "For the 25% of respondents who reported having no dental insurance coverage, the costs of dental care and the lack of insurance coverage were consistently noted as critical barriers to obtaining quality dental treatment of their dental symptoms. Even among those who had some dental insurance - such as Medicaid - it was often not enough to eliminate the obstacles to obtaining needed dental treatment."
The authors also report that even when participants were able to see a dentist with the limited insurance they had or while uninsured, many believed that because of their lack of private insurance they received a poorer quality of care than did others.