Powell, President of Payer+Provider Syndicate, a management advisory and operational consulting firm focused on the managed care and healthcare delivery industries. First and foremost, dentistry is a specialty area of medicine. In other words, doctors who become dentists must be trained in that specific area of medicine. Dentistry is a particular area of health that most doctors don't have time for.
Because of this, dentistry is a separate area of healthcare that requires its own doctors. For example, if you had a heart problem, then you would see a cardiologist. Similarly, you'll need to see a dentist and not a regular doctor when you have oral problems. The government health insurance program for adults 65 and older, as well as people of all ages with disabilities, currently covers cancer screenings, mental health services and appointments with specialists, from allergists to urologists.
But what about a visit to the dentist? Surprisingly, most dental services aren't covered by Medicare, despite the fact that older adults are at greater risk for dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth loss. Harvard dental students have always spent more than a year of their education attending the same classes as their medical school peers. They learn as much about what happens in the chest cavity as well as about the oral cavity. According to a new curriculum, in their second year they work in a primary care clinic in dental school, together with fourth-year dental students, nurse practitioners and primary care physicians to learn how to assess a patient's overall health.
In collaboration with Northeastern University's Bouvé School of Nursing, nurse practitioners and nursing students work with dental students and faculty members to manage chronic diseases and provide oral care.