Children's Dental Health: Virginia

Making Coverage Matter

Children's Dental Health: Virginia

Virginia meets half of the eight benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs. The state's Medicaid payment rates fell relative to dentists' usual fees, sliding below Pew's benchmark. However, the state made progress by submitting basic screening data to the National Oral Health Surveillance System for the first time.

Virginia's “Smiles for Children” Medicaid program brought dental services to 45.7 percent of its Medicaid-enrolled kids in 2009, and a 2010 report by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that the program “has dramatically improved dental access and care for Virginia's low income children.”1

Virginia reduced its Medicaid adult dental services in 2010.2 This cut could have a negative impact on children, as research indicates that parents who visit dentists are more likely to arrange dental care for their kids.3


1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Commonwealth of Virginia Medicaid Dental Program Review,” 7, October 2010 (accessed March 21, 2011).

2. V. Smith, et. al. , “Hoping for Economic Recovery, Preparing for Health Reform: A Look at Medicaid Spending, Coverage and Policy Trends Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011,” Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, September 2010;, (accessed October 20, 2010).

3. “Children More Likely to Visit the Dentist If Their Parents Do, Too,” ScienceDaily, February 16. 2010,; (accessed April 2011).

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