Senior citizens were able to get free dental screenings, cleanings and x-rays during a Highmark Wholecare wellness event at the Allegheny County Housing Authority Jefferson Manor in Penn Hills on Oct. 21.
In 2021, the American Dental Association Health Policy Institute surveyed a group of dentists and more than 30 percent said their patients had more cavities and gum disease than before the pandemic. In addition, more than 70 percent had seen significant increases in patient stress-related conditions, including teeth grinding.
More than 110 seniors attended three events at Allegheny County Housing Authority properties.
“Due to the fear of getting sick, many seniors have avoided going to the dentist even after the world opened back up,” said John Pepper, Highmark Wholecare’s spokesperson. “Our ‘whole health’ model meets our senior members where they are, in their home communities, so that socio-economic barriers like transportation don’t get in the way of physical health.”
Last summer, Highmark Wholecare and United Concordia performed free mobile dentistry clinics throughout the state, focusing on children. The success of the tour and rising inflation costs, have led to the model being expanded to include local service providers.