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Challenges to delivering oral health care have garnered more attention recently, notably in a front page story in the Washington Post entitled "The Painful Truth About Teeth”. This article highlights the continuing divide between Americans who can afford dental coverage and those who cannot. It also provides insight into a major inequity in health care – the challenge of providing oral health care to the country.
A recent opinion piece by R. Bruce Donoff “It’s time to break down the wall between dentistry and medicine” illustrates the division in the two disciplines. "We cannot drill, fill, and extract our way to better oral and overall health. We need a fundamentally different approach, one that accentuates disease prevention and health management using a multidisciplinary, integrated, and patient-centric approach to overall health. And that means breaking down the wall between dentistry and medicine." To break down this barrier, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine created “The Initiative to Integrate Oral Health and Medicine.” Other institutions have also realized the importance of integrated dental health and primary care. Donoff further notes that, "While inter-professional education has met with some success, inter-professional practice remains elusive.”