How to find a dental practice in your area taking new Apple Health patients
Finding dentists that accept Apple Health can be difficult. DentistLink is here to help everyone in Washington find the right dental practice to get essential oral health care. Operated by the Arcora Foundation, we provide a service that is free to use and assists people in Washington who have Apple Health, Washington state’s Medicaid program.
In this article, we’ll walk you through several options for finding the right dentist for you who accepts Apple Health, including our own tools for finding Apple Health dentists.
The fact that you’ve landed on this article in your search for a dentist that takes Apple Health means you are significantly closer to achieving your goal! DentistLink is a non-profit referral service, and our tools are some of the best ways to connect with a local Medicaid dentist that takes Apple Health.
Apple Health Covers a Wide Range of Dental Services
Apple Health covers quality dental and dental-related services for eligible adults and for eligible children age 20 and younger.
About one million adults across Washington state, and even more children, depend on Apple Health for their medical and dental coverage. While Apple Health covers most common dental procedures, in the last year only about 40 percent of the 2.1 million people in this state who are enrolled in Apple Health, and only 23 percent of adults, actually saw a dentist.
The Washington State Health Care Authority, which administers the state’s Apple Health program, provides a detailed description of all dental services covered by Apple Health. They include routine exams, cleaning, x-rays, fillings, fluoride application, extractions, and limited services such as root canals, dentures, oral surgery and care of gum disease.
Another helpful resource on the Heath Care Authority site explains specifically how to use your Apple Health coverage. This useful webpage goes through processes and questions for all areas that Apple Health covers, including dental care and how to use our services to find a dentist who accepts Apple Health. If you want to learn more about all the ways you can use your Apple Health coverage, you can use this page to read about topics such as care after hours, pharmacy/drug store usage, and emergency care.
Get Connected to Care with DentistLink
When using our referral services, you have options for how to use DentistLink to find dentists accepting Apple Health near you:
- You can use our Find a Dentist tool to find an available dentist near you.
- You can message a referral specialist online using our online form.
- You can call or text DentistLink at 844-888-5465. If you use the phone number, a DentistLink referral specialist will respond to your call or text and assist with the next steps in finding dentists that accept Apple Health.
Some people receive Apple Health coverage through a managed care plan such as AmeriGroup, Community Health Plan of Washington, Coordinated Care, Molina or United Health, and some of these managed care sites include links to use in searching for Apple Health dentists, but they tend to simply take you back to the Health Care Authority’s Find a Provider page. For example, Community Health Plan of Washington’s “find a dentist or oral surgeon” link and the Molina “find a provider” link on its Dental page take you back to the Health Care Authority’s Find a Provider page, which includes the direct link and phone number to contact DentistLink.
People who have tried using means other than DentistLink to find dentists that accept Apple Health have mentioned finding providers who either did not actually accept Apple Health, or who were not accepting new patients. This can be a long, frustrating process. Thankfully, finding the right dentist is easy when you utilize DentistLink’s search tools or call us (844-888-5465).
To help make sure you find care that meets all your needs, DentistLink referral specialists have current information on dentists accepting both Apple Health and new patients.
On the DentistLink homepage you’ll see the three options we outlined above for using our services:
- Search for a dentist near me
- Call or text the DentistLink team
- Have DentistLink contact me
To use option #1 and search for a dentist near you by using the Find a Dentist directory, you will need to provide a reason for the visit, zip code, age, phone number and insurance status (Apple Health, no insurance, or cash discount/reduced fee). Then, you’ll receive a list of dental providers, their addresses, how far away they are from your zip code, and, if you click on their name, a phone number, map to their location and other information. All the dentists listed should take Apple Health and be accepting new patients.
If you choose option #2 to call or text, you may reach a member of the DentistLink referral specialist team directly between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday, or leave a voice message any time and a referral specialist will contact you as soon as available.
To contact a referral specialist online using Option #3, the form to fill out to have DentistLink contact you asks for basic information including whether you are looking for a dentist for yourself or someone else. It also asks for the patient’s name, how you’d like to be contacted (text or call), date of birth, zip code, reason for needing to see a dentist, whether the patient is pregnant or diabetic, and insurance status (Apple Health, other, or no insurance).
Using option #2 or #3 to contact a referral specialist provides you access to a number of additional services that can help in finding and visiting a dentist that accepts Apple Health and is right for you. After a few questions, including your age, location and reason for your dental visit, the referral specialist will connect you with a dental provider who fits your needs and location. The referral specialist can also connect you with additional assistance such as transportation or childcare providers.
Interpretation services are available when speaking with a DentistLink referral specialist. They speak English and Spanish, but other language assistance is also available. On the DentistLink website, a dropdown menu on the top right of every page can translate the text of the site into 100 different languages. DentistLink referral specialists also have access to translators able to help in about 300 languages.
DentistLink is powered and funded by Arcora Foundation, the foundation of Delta Dental of Washington, so there is never a charge to use this referral service. Patients, dentists and health care and social service organizations can all use DentistLink.
Why Accessing Dental Services Is So Important
Oral health is essential to your overall health. The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, so you’re not healthy if your mouth isn’t healthy. For example, cavities and other aspects of poor oral health are linked to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Taking care of your teeth helps to keep your whole body healthy.
All children should see a dentist when their first baby tooth appears or by their first birthday. Poor oral health can affect a child’s performance in school and their ability to get a good night’s sleep, eat healthy, interact with other kids, and grow toward becoming a healthy adult. A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics confirmed the impact of dental disease on school performance. Children with poor or fair oral health were nearly 80 percent more likely to have problems in school and were 90 percent more likely to miss more than six days of school in a year than healthier children.
For adults, poor oral health, including tooth loss and gum disease, can affect work, the job search process, and getting good nutrition, and can increase the potential for serious illnesses that can be life threatening. Poor oral health also can lead to complications in pregnancy that can harm both the mother and the unborn child.
The good news is that oral disease is preventable! For people covered by Apple Health, finding dentists that accept Apple Health can help ensure access to the prevention and treatment needed to get and remain healthy. It can also keep patients out of hospital emergency rooms, where care is costly and usually limited to little more than temporarily managing pain.
Emergency room treatment may involve prescriptions for painkillers. When people are prescribed painkillers for dental pain, there can be negative outcomes, including kidney and liver diseases, the need for transplants, and additional ER visits due to ingestion/abuse of opioids.
If you have anxiety about seeing a dentist, or someone you’re attempting to help find a dentist who takes Apple Health is anxious about it, it’s not unusual. But the rewards of better health, and avoiding much higher costs and more intense pain from untreated dental problems, are certainly worth overcoming the anxiety.
There are steps you can take to help ease anxiety, such as relaxing and distracting exercises. Most important is to make sure your communicate your concerns to your dental provider, who can help build your confidence that your needs will be addressed.
All of us who have experienced dental pain know how debilitating it can be. No one should have to suffer with oral disease that is painful, harmful and almost completely preventable. Seeing a dentist enables you to get the prevention and early treatment that are so important in making sure dental problems don’t become more damaging, costly and dangerous. But you have to find a dentist who takes your insurance first. For the difficult task of finding dentists that accept Apple Health, DentistLink can help. Use our online search and contact tools, or text or call DentistLink at 844-888-5465, and a referral specialist will assist you in finding an Apple Health provider who will meet your oral health care needs.