Janesville52.1°

A sad state of dental care

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Greg Peck
July 1, 2013

I see my dentist twice a year. I consider it much like changing the oil on my car regularly. If you donít do routine maintenance on your vehicle, you could run into problems down the road. The same holds true for dental care. Lack of regular care can lead to problems beyond the mouth. It can lead to heart and kidney diseases and complicate diabetes, among other concerns.

I saw my dentist, Dr. Connie Winter, just a few weeks ago. She and her husband, Jim, own and operate Winter Dental on Janesvilleís northeast side. In the middle of a routine cleaning by a hygienist, Dr. Connie checked my X-rays and my mouth and proclaimed me good to go. But she also took time to discuss why so many people ignore dental care. Some people have abnormal fears of dentists, even though modern dentistry can make procedures almost pain free compared to services years ago. Some donít want to pay the prices, not understanding the risks of bigger costs down the road from the lack of regular care. Some people donít want to take the time, and others just donít like the idea of someone fiddling around inside their mouths.

Lots of people felt differently last week. People traveled hundreds of miles and some even camped out overnight to assure their places in a two-day clinic of free care at Badger High School in Lake Geneva. The Wisconsin Dental Associationís annual Mission of Mercy served some 2,000 people with about $1 million in services.

That event comes on the heels of a new report from the Pew Charitable Trust. It revealed that 71 percent of Wisconsin children enrolled in Medicaid did not see dentists in 2011. Thatís the second worst rate in the nation. Only Florida, at 75 percent, fared worse.

In our editorial Tuesday, weíll share our perspectives on what can be done about what one Lake Geneva dentist calls an ďepidemic.Ē

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook



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