Kansans Need Basic Preventive Dental Care

Dental decay is nearly 100% preventable. The most basic dental care is preventive care like a checkup, x-ray, and cleaning. It can be hard for adults covered by KanCare to access these basic preventive dental services because they are "value-added benefits (VABs)" offered by the KanCare managed care organizations.

Kansas is the only state that uses a combination of Medicaid and VABs to establish adult dental benefits. The Legislature has invested in providing restorative care (fillings and gum disease care) and dentures to adults, but the managed care organizations have had to include the basic dental care - the exams and cleanings - in their VAB packages because Medicaid does not cover them. The purpose of a VAB is to offer additional services or incentives that can promote healthy lifestyles and improve health outcomes. A VAB is something extra that will make someone's life a little better, not a basic service that is core to health care, such as an exam and dental cleaning.

Why is basic preventive dental care important?
This system of covering the most basic dental care through value-added benefits and fillings and dentures through Medicaid is confusing for consumers and even more confusing for dental providers. When it is hard to understand how the most essential and basic dental care is covered, providers are reluctant to care for adults, which leaves dental care out of reach for many people.

It is time to erase the confusion and ensure that all people who are enrolled in KanCare have access to basic dental care including exams, x-rays, and cleanings.

Who would be affected if KanCare included basic dental coverage for adults in Kansas?
 Nearly 10,000 Kansas adults were able to access fillings and periodontal care in 2022-2023. They would be eligible for this basic preventive dental care.
 38% of the Kansas Medicaid population are adults over the age of 21.

Do other states include basic preventive dental coverage in Medicaid?
 Over 40 states, including our neighboring states of Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, and Oklahoma, provide basic preventive dental coverage.

Read more in this Medicaid Preventive Dental Coverage in Kansas overview and in this overview of current Medicaid dental coverage for adults and the advocacy planned for 2024.
Use these talking points to help share the importance of Medicaid covering basic preventive dental care for adults.


How Can I Take Action or Get Involved?
In 2024 Oral Health Kansas will advocate for an appropriation to add basic preventive dental coverage for adults to KanCare.
Click here to join Our List of Supporting Organizations!

Current Supporters:


Use the OHK Advocacy Toolkit to advocate for denture coverage in KanCare.
Contact us at with any questions.

This work is made possible with financial support from:




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