Government Shutdown: How Might Dental Care be Affected

Most of the world waited with bated breath for Congress to determine whether or not a government shutdown would take place. This crisis was averted but what if it had not been? How then would this affect dental care?

If a government shutdown did ever occur, there are a number of federal employees, 800,000 to be exact, that would be placed on furlough. Military troops would go unpaid and a number of federal institutions would cease to operate until a budget is approved. Would Medicaid and Medicare still be available to cover emergency dental procedures?

According to various sources, Medicaid and Medicare would both go on paying for certain services if a government shutdown happened. While there are a number of military bases and institutions that would slow down in performance, they would continue to operate on an emergency basis.

This means that emergency dental care would be covered if you have Medicaid or Medicare or if you are a military personnel living on base. Veteran’s Administration Centers would also continue to offer emergency dental care. Knowing this, it becomes important to understand just what is considered to be an “emergency” where dental care is concerned and what specific problems will be covered if indeed there is ever a shutdown of the federal government.

If you have a tooth that has been knocked out, is loose or is out of alignment, then you will likely qualify for emergency dental treatment. These are conditions that dentists feel need immediate attention. A chipped, fractured or cracked tooth can also be considered an emergency where extreme pain and swelling is present.

Any tissue injury or facial pain that could be caused from a tooth or an abscess in the gums is also considered to be a dental emergency. An emergency dental situation is basically any problem that will require immediate treatment in order to protect the teeth, alleviate pain, repair gum tissue and/or stop bleeding. If any of these situations occur during a government shutdown then your insurance or Veteran’s benefits will continue to pay for dental care.

Any severe abscess or infection in the mouth that is considered to be life-threatening is certainly going to qualify as a dental care emergency. When you visit the dentist, he or she may admit you to a hospital if you have a large amount of infection in your teeth or gums.

Otherwise, you may undergo a root canal in order to repair the damage and allow the abscess to drain. If at any time you cannot reach a dentist in these situations, it is recommended that you visit a hospital emergency room for treatment immediately.

During a government shutdown, if it ever were to happen, there would be many treatments that may not be covered under your dental plan if you have Medicare or Medicaid or if you are military personnel.

Cosmetic procedures, cleanings and even fillings may have to wait until the budget is approved and all plans revert back to their original policies. If you have questions about what will be covered if the federal government ever shut down, you should contact your dental care insurance provider for more information.