Dental assistant Elizabeth Serrano, left, and Dr. Ryan Draiss work together at the Sarrell Dental and Eye Center in Boaz, Ala. The non-profit clinic provides dental care for children on Medicaid. The Sarrell clinic is considering expansion to other states
(AP) - The dental health care for Tennesseans ranks among the worst in the nation, which has sent more patients to the emergency room and caused more adults to lose teeth to decay and disease.
A survey performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed declining dental visits in Tennessee and an increase in the number of people who have lost at least one permanent tooth.
That puts Tennessee at 47th in the nation for dental health, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported (http://bit.ly/KWf2ji ).
Tennessee doesn't cover dental care for Medicaid enrollees 21 or older, and Michele Johnson with the Tennessee Justice Center said that doesn't leave many options for people without insurance.
County health departments provide dental care for children, but only emergency dental care for adults.