A new state report found that many Virginians on Medicaid often go to emergency departments for dental issues that could have been prevented or treated at a dentist's office.
A recently released report by the Department of Medical Assistance Services found that about 16,000 Medicaid recipients visited emergency departments about 19,000 times in 2018.
More than half of those 16,000 were treated for "non-traumatic dental conditions" like tooth aches and loose teeth.
The majority of emergency department visits were by adult Medicaid recipients, who do not qualify for preventative dental coverage like children do.
Virginia has struggled to contain Medicaid costs, which have increasingly taken up a larger share of the state's budget.