Earlier this year, the AAO and eight other dental organizations joined together to contact U.S. Senate leaders in support of the Action for Dental Health Act of 2018 (S. 3016), which would expand access to dental care in underserved, rural and Native American communities. The House of Representatives had previously passed the legislation by a vote of 387-13.
In a December 11 update on the legislation the American Dental Association announced, “A slightly amended version was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and passed in October 2018. The bill was reconciled in time for passage before the 115th session of Congress ends later this month.”

President Trump subsequently signed the bill into law.

The bill will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention nationwide among those who are currently underserved. Ultimately, the legislation aims to reduce emergency room visits for dental conditions and would increase access to care for the elderly in nursing homes, as well as the blind and disabled.