“We need to stop segregating oral health care from systemic health care.”  – Dr. Daniel Croley

Hello! Welcome to the Aging Pearls Podcast, where we’re dedicated to providing dental pearls for all those concerned with the oral care needs of our aging population. I am Dr. Christie Hogue and today, we welcome Dr. Daniel Croley. As a dental benefits professional, he offers insider insights on different dental programs and plans available to get the best care we need. He also gives his perspective on the factors that impact access to oral health care, especially among the elderly, the link between periodontal and systemic diseases, and the need to eliminate negative attitudes toward dentistry.


Daniel W. Croley, DMD, is vice president and Chief Dental Officer for Delta Dental of California and affiliated companies. He is responsible for building a culture of healthcare quality so that we can deliver exceptional care to our customers and members that help them get healthy and stay healthy for the enterprise. Dr. Croley joined Delta Dental in 2004 and is responsible for the clinical vision and overall quality of oral healthcare for Delta Dental. He is deeply involved in product development and represents Delta Dental in many industries and professional organizations, including committees at the American Dental Association, National Association of Dental Plans, California Association of Dental Plans, and Delta Dental Plans Association.


[00:01 – 06:54] Affordable Plans for All

  • Why Dr. Daniel transitioned from clinical practice to insurance
  • Developing plans that meet customers’ price points
    • Dr. Daniel explains the work they do and the plans available for patients
    • There is a focus on changing the legislation on medically necessary dental


[06:55 – 21:26] Uncovering Barriers to Senior Oral Care

  • Seniors are the least insured population
    • After investing in dental health during the working years, they lose their insurance when they retire
  • There is a lack of education on how periodontal diseases can increase the risk of systemic diseases
    • Periodontal disease and gingivitis don’t necessarily generate a lot of pain so most people ignore it
    • It’s essential to start talking about our mouths with our physicians, and about our physical health to our dentists
  • Social determinants and access to care should also be considered
  • There are still misunderstandings about going to the dentist
    • Some people still have that feeling of fear
    • Others go to the dentist only when they feel pain as opposed to seeing it as preventive care
    • Families and caregivers should open up conversations about oral health with their elderly loved ones
  • Equal care is now equitable care and is focused on getting people what they need individually


[16:58 – 24:59] Stopping the Negative Cycle

  • Healers in the oral health space should pay attention to the patient’s overall well-being
  • Dispelling ageism and misconception about dental health is important

[25:00 – 27:40] Programs and Coverage for Oral Health

  • Dr. Daniel discusses Medicaid programs and state programs
  • What are Medicare Advantage Plans?

[27:41 – 35:06] Final Thoughts

  • Dr. Daniel’s message to the community
  • Connect with Dr. Christie Hogue – leave a review and comment (links below)


Key Quotes:

“As you retire and you move into a fixed income, sometimes dentistry takes a backseat to some of those other costs just to live. And I think that contributes to some of the lack of oral health care that a lot of seniors actually experience.” – Dr. Daniel Croley


“Individual plans are out there and I think people just need to look for them.” – Dr. Daniel Croley


“If you do feel that fear, call your dentist. Call them and talk to them about it. Because my strong suspicion is that those fears are pretty much unfounded today.” – Dr. Daniel Croley


“Ask the hard questions. We tend to want to shy away from asking those questions of our parents… As they age, they become a little more vulnerable. They become a little bit less capable. Let’s care for them the way they cared for us.” – Dr. Daniel Croley



Delta Dental

Delta Dental Federal Programs

Aging Pearls: Oral Health, Frailty, and Nutrition


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