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Community Clinics See Big Decline in Dental Patients

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Aired 8/19/09

Local community clinics say a lot fewer people are coming in for dental care. California eliminated dental benefits to adults on Medi-Cal on July 1st.

— Local community clinics say a lot fewer people are coming in for dental care. California eliminated dental benefits to adults on Medi-Cal on July 1st.

Dental benefits were one of ten Medi-Cal services that lawmakers eliminated in order to save money.

As a result, local community clinics say they've seen between a 20 and 80 percent decline in Medi-Cal patients who used to receive dental care.

Gary Rotto is with the Council of Community Clinics. He says patients can still get treated.

"The clinics do have a sliding scale, and that is based upon a person's income and size of family," Rotto points out. "But for many people that's still a great barrier in this economic time to coming into continuing care."

Doctors say putting off routine dental care can cause more serious health problems down the line.

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