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Oral Health

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find a dentist to care for myself and/or my family?

Ask your current health care provider or Public Health Nurse for a referral to a dental provider near your home, or one that travels to your community.

Contact your local or regional Community Health Center for providers in your local area or urban communities close to your home. The Directory of Alaska Health Care Sites can help you find community sites with dental care services.

Medicaid clients should check with their current dental provider and ask if they serve Medicaid/Denali KidCare clients. Clients can check the Insure Kids Now website for a list of providers taking new Medicaid clients. or call 1-800-780-9972 toll free outside of the Anchorage area for a list of dental providers that serve Medicaid clients.

Which dental services are covered by Medicaid/Denali KidCare?

Children (age 0 to 21) — Emergency, routine, and preventative services adequate to restore and maintain dental function are covered for children. Exam, X-ray, scaling, polishing, fluoride treatments and sealants are covered. Dentures, crowns, caps, root canals and oral surgery are also covered. Some services may require prior authorization.

Adults (age 21 and over) — Coverage for Medicaid eligible adults who are 21 years and older includes $1,150 annually for preventive dental care such as exams and cleanings, fillings, crowns, root canals and dentures. All preventive Adult services require prior authorization. Emergency treatment for the relief of pain and acute infection do not count against the annual cap.

Where can I get information about training to become a dental provider?

Dental training programs for Alaska residents are available in Alaska or through programs in other states with special consideration for Alaska students.

Training to be a Dental Assistant or Dental Hygienist is available at the University of Alaska in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. In Anchorage, contact the University of Alaska Anchorage, Allied Health Sciences, Dental Programs or call (907) 786-6929. In Fairbanks, contact the University of Alaska, College of Rural and Community Development for the Dental Hygiene program or call (907) 455-2834. For the Dental Assistant training in Fairbanks, contact the University of Alaska Allied Health Programs or call (907) 455-2050 or 2822.

To train as a Dentist, connect to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) or call (303) 541-0200. The dental schools closest to Alaska are the School of Dentistry at the University of Washington and Oregon Health and Sciences University School of Dentistry. The American Dental Association and the American Dental Hygiene Association can help you with other questions regarding careers in the dental health profession.
Training to become an Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapist is now available in Alaska through the University of Washington DENTEX Program. Contact the DENTEX Program for prerequisites and eligibility at (206) 616-4001.

How can I get a license in the State of Alaska as a dentist or dental hygienist?

Contact the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners or the Alaska Division of Occupational Licensing

Who should I contact if I have a complaint about a dentist licensed in Alaska?

The Alaska Board of Dental Examiners handles complaints and disciplinary actions for dental providers licensed in Alaska.

Where can I find out if my drinking water has enough fluoride in it to help prevent dental decay?

The US Department of Health and Human Services has proposed new recommendations for community water fluoridation with fluoride concentration at 0.7 parts per million (ppm).  Contact your local water system operator and ask if the naturally occurring fluoride level in your water is 0.7 ppm or if the system’s water is being adjusted to that level. You can also check the fluoride level through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website My Water’s Fluoride. If you have a well for your water source, you can have your water tested at a certified testing lab.

Learn more about the benefits of community water fluoridation at the CDC Community Water Fluoridation website.

What if my water does not have a level of fluoride high enough to prevent dental decay?

**Contact your health care or dental provider to learn more about fluoride supplements or topical fluorides for your child. Information about fluoride supplements and topical fluorides can be found in the topic areas Dietary Fluoride Supplements and Fluorides to Prevent Tooth Decay in the Resources/Links Health Information Section.

What should I do in case of a dental emergency?

Call your dentist (most have an emergency contact number on their telephone message recording if they are not available), or go to the nearest emergency room. American Dental Association offers information on how to handle a dental injury or tooth that has been knocked out.

How can I find out about oral cancer, if I am at risk or where to get a screening?

There are many sites on the Internet that can provide you with information regarding oral cancer. Check in the Resources/Links Health Information section of this web site or use a search engine to locate other oral cancer web sites. You may also learn how to do a self exam between dental appointments for early detection. Contact your dentist immediately if you have any concerns. Ask your dentist or primary care provider about an oral cancer screening during your next dental visit. Your health care provider, dental provider, Public Health Nurse, Community Health Center or local organizations may have printed materials on oral cancer or information on screenings at school or health fair events.

Is information about other oral health topics available on this web site?

Yes. Look at the Resource/Links Page on this web site for the following topics on oral health: