Author Archives: Mary Otto

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at

Connecticut cracks down on dentist for overtreating toddler

Photo: hinterlens via Flickr

Following a two-year investigation by state health officials, the Connecticut State Dental Commission has voted to discipline a dentist for performing unnecessary work on a toddler.

In the 2016 complaint that spurred an inquiry by the state Department of Public Health (DPH), the child’s mother said she had agreed to allow dentist Ammar Idlibi to place a crown on one of her 3-year-old daughter’s teeth. Continue reading

Inspector’s report suggests potential for vape shop quality control issues

Photo: Brad Wilmot via Flickr

A recent report on the results of a series of unannounced “vape shop” visits by federal inspectors raises questions about quality-assurance in the preparation of some e-cigarette products.

Vape shops typically sell products, including electronic nicotine delivery devices and “e-liquids” solutions that are atomized by heating elements within the devices. When inhaled, the resulting vapor delivers nicotine, flavorings and other additives to the user. Continue reading

Reporter shares insights on covering cuts to Medicaid dental coverage

Photo: Phil King via Flickr

In a recent story for the Lexington Herald-Leader, reporter Will Wright offered a look at the human toll of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s July decision to cut dental and vision benefits for about 460,000 state Medicaid beneficiaries.

The Republican governor announced the cuts after a federal judge blocked his plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program by requiring recipients to work or volunteer and pay monthly benefits. Continue reading

Changes are on the way for military dental benefits

Photo: Marine Forces Reserve via Flickr

Changes are coming for 1.6 million military retirees and family members who obtain oral health care benefits through the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP).

The premium-based dental plan, managed by the Defense Health Agency (DHA), is slated to shut down on Dec. 31. Continue reading

New tip sheet can assist your coverage of threats to Medicaid dental benefits

Photo by U.S. Pacific Fleet via Flickr

Roughly 38 million low-income adults across the United States rely upon Medicaid for a broad range of health care benefits. But not all of them can count on obtaining even the most basic dental services.

While children are entitled to dental care under Medicaid, dental benefits for adults are only considered an option. Under federal law, each state determines the scope of its adult dental coverage. Continue reading

Landmark oral health report due for an update

Photo: ca_heckler via Flickr

In his landmark Oral Health in America report in 2000, then-Surgeon General David Satcher reminded the nation that oral health is essential to general health. Satcher hailed progress made in the scientific understanding of common oral maladies such as tooth decay.

But at the same time, Satcher warned of a “silent epidemic” of oral disease burdening millions of Americans, including poor children and seniors, minorities and those living with disabilities. Continue reading