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The Sjögren’s Foundation is leading the fight to have Medicare cover dental expenses for U.S. Sjögren’s patients and those with related autoimmune disease! Medicare opened the door for consideration of medically necessary dental coverage in early November of 2022, and the Sjögren’s Foundation made this a priority to ensure that the needs of Sjögren’s patients were highlighted. As an active member of the Consortium for Medically Necessary Dental Care, the Sjögren’s Foundation chairs the Consortium’s Autoimmune Disease Working Group.

According to the Foundation’s latest national Living with Sjögren’s patient survey, dry mouth is one of the top-most symptoms experienced by Sjögren’s patients, and the extensive dental care patients need resulting from dry mouth marks the single highest out-of-pocket expense. Dry mouth in Sjögren’s not only interferes with eating, swallowing, and talking, it leads to oral pain and infection, serious gum infection (periodontal disease), rampant tooth decay, chipping and breaking of teeth, and ultimate loss of teeth. Managing and treating these problems gets very expensive for patients!

Our application was submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) by the Foundation on February 10, 2023 (click here to view submission). Watch for our Call to Action to be issued soon! YOUR VOICE and story will be crucial to garnering the support necessary to make dental coverage under Medicare a reality for Sjögren’s patients.

The Sjögren’s Foundation thanks its Oral Medicine CMS Proposal Team, composed of:

Athena Papas, DMD, PhD, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Ava Wu, DDS, University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry and University of California Berkeley Sjögren’s Clinic
Domenica Giovanna Ciaglia Sweier, DDS, PhD, University of Michigan School of Dentistry
Michael Brennan, DDS, MHS, Carolinas Medical Center
Vidya Sankar, DMD, MHS, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

Additionally, we are grateful to Alan Baer, MD, Chair of the Foundation’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Council, and to our many physician leaders who signed onto our submission in support of dental coverage under Medicare for Sjögren’s and other autoimmune disorders in recognition that oral health is an integral part of our patients’ systemic health.