Engaging Primary Care Medical Providers in Children’s Oral Health

Access to dental care in the U.S. is a severe problem for young children, underscored by the fact that only a quarter of all children under six had a dental visit in 2004. In an effort to address these access issues, many states have begun reimbursing medical providers for delivering basic oral health services to children. This issue brief provides an update to the 2008 State Health Policy Monitor, The Role of Physicians in Children’s Oral Health, which highlighted state efforts to increase access to preventive dental care through the use of medical providers. Currently, 34 state Medicaid programs reimburse primary care providers for performing preventive oral health care services on children, including nine new state programs since last year’s study. These preventive oral health care services include the application of fluoride varnish, anticipatory guidance/caregiver education, risk assessment, and an oral examination/screening. The use of primary care providers as a first line of defense in children’s oral health provides an opportunity to facilitate a more cohesive working relationship between the dental and medical communities.

This project is supported by The Pew Center on the States’ Advancing Children’s Dental Health Initiative.

Primary Care Providers & Children’s Oral Health 321.4 KB


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