Hey! Don't worry about it! If missing a lot of school and have social adjustment problems as a result of illness, pain, and "bad teeth" creates real problems with a kid ... we'll make it all better, later, in prison:
California taxpayers shelled out $770 million to medical, dental and mental-health staff to care for convicts [in 2010], even as lawmakers slashed programs for poor children and the elderly to erase a $20 billion deficit... A dentist in a California prison can earn as much as $288,636 a year plus overtime and extra duty pay, according to  figures from the state Corrections Department.
UPDATE, August 16, 2013: On September 5, dentists who provide services to children on Medi-Cal will have their fees cut by 10%, and the state will attempt to recoup "overpayments" from these providers retroactive to June 1, 2013, according to yesterday's release from the state Dept. of Health Care Services. (Exempt from the reductions are "nonprofit dental pediatric surgery centers that provide at least 99% of their services under general anesthesia to children with severe dental disease under age 21...")
DHCS received federal approval for the reductions, effective June 1, 2011, but has been prevented from implementing many of these reductions due to a court injunction in the Managed Pharmacy Care, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al case. On June 14, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the plaintiffs’ motion for a stay of mandate in this case, allowing the implementation of all of the AB 97 Medi-Cal provider 10 percent payment reductions.
In December 2012, Denise Trowbridge, writing for the Columbus Dispatch noted a recent study by Case Western Reserve University researchers that "shows a link between obesity and cavities among children living in poverty. The study found that as those children age, the risk of obesity increases, as do the number of cavities. The two are related, but not the way one might guess.
“It’s not the obesity causing the cavities or the cavities causing obesity,” said Peg DiMarco, an associate professor of nursing and the author of the study...“Poverty is the underlying cause of both.”
It boils down to lack of access to fresh, healthful foods and to basic dental care...Although many of the health problems associated with obesity are well-known, such as increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular problems, those linked with cavities don’t receive as much attention. “Cavities are a silent epidemic, and they’re the No. 1 chronic infectious disease in children,” DiMarco said.
In January 2013, The Children's Partnership published a brief on the state of dental services to children on Medi-Cal in California (it can be read in full here, and an analysis here). The brief, which was a call to action on this issue, reminded children's advocates of the fact: "In 2009-2010, only 35% (9,275) of California’s 26,500 dentists treated children. Of that number, only 25% treated children enrolled in Medi-Cal.
“...children who transition from Healthy Families to MediCal face difficulties getting the dental care they were promised [and] children currently enrolled in Medi-Cal continue to suffer from a lack of access to dental care.” -- Wendy Lazarus, co-president and founder of The Children's Partnership, Santa Monica.
July 26, 2013: Bravo to the The Children's Partnership for the brief, "Finding Dental Care in California: A Snapshot of Using the State’s Website to Find a Medi-Cal Dentist for Children — a report that chronicles the results of two researchers mimicking the online process that parents can use to try to find a dentist who treats Medi-Cal patients -- and finding the experience often exasperating.
The study -- reminiscent of a 'sting" operation -- was conducted via 220 phone calls to 62% of the state's supposed low-income dental care providers; the callers pretended to be parents with children who needed dental care. The key findings:
...children were denied services
because providers didn’t treat children
enrolled in Medi-Cal, despite the
InsureKidsNow.gov site claiming they did.
...Providers frequently denied some or all
services for younger children.
...Spanish-speaking families had
difficulty getting assistance in Spanish,
despite the InsureKidsNow.gov site claiming
the availability of Spanish-speaking staff.
... the information on the
InsureKidsNow.gov was [too often] inaccurate.
InsureKidsNow is a federal site, falling under the auspices of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. On the main menu is "Learn about Health Care Programs in Your State," and on that page is "Getting Dental Care" with two categories (under CHiP, and under Medicaid [Medi-Cal]. The form describing coverage under Medi-Cal, for example, is a reproduced PDF chart written in the vocabulary of medical paraprofessionals (e.g., regarding root canals on baby teeth:
Retreatment of root canals is a covered
benefit only if clinical or radiographic signs of
abscess formation are present, and/or the
patient is experiencing symptoms. Removal or
retreatment of silver points, overfills,
underfills, incomplete fills, or broken
instruments lodged in a canal, in the absence
of pathology is not a covered benefit.
Thus, the result of all the policy sessions, legislative drafting, health care seminars, power point presentations, and task-force recommendations dashed -- on the uncreative and thoughtless work of low-level staff who are given the the most important job of all: getting the program in service to the public (envision: a low-income parent sitting in an apartment with a toddler screaming from an abscessed tooth).