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The Dental Home and Oral Health

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This collection of selected resources offers high-quality information about the dental home. Use the tools below for further searching, or contact us for personalized assistance.

Key Facts

  Share these facts to help improve the oral health of pregnant women, children, and adolescents and their families.

  • The dental home is the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way. The dental home should be established no later than age 12 months and includes referral to dental specialists when appropriate. 1
  • Early preventive dental visits may be associated with reduced restorative oral health care visits and related expenditures during the first years of life. 2
  • An evidence base for the dental home definition should be developed before professional associations’ policies related to the dental home are updated, consolidated, and promoted. 3
  • Despite professional recommendations for the year 1 dental visit, very few children actually have such a visit. 2
  • Shortages of both general dentists and pediatric dentists pose a barrier to access to care for large portions of the population, particularly those enrolled in public insurance and residing in rural areas. 4
  • Ideally, a dental home should be established when provision of anticipatory guidance to parents or caregivers and application of preventive modalities to children can have a true primary preventive effect, before the occurrence of disease or traumatic injury. 2
  • Home visiting models can introduce children and their families to preventive oral health practices, improve oral health literacy, establish dental homes, and provide fluoride varnish applications. 5
  • Primary care health professionals have the potential to play an important role in establishing a dental home for children at an early age. 6
  • Increasing health professionals’ awareness of the oral health needs of all children, including those with special health care needs, and enhancing health professionals’ ability to meet these needs can facilitate access to oral health services for all children. 7
  • Pediatric dentists and general dentists can work together to implement oral health transition plans for adolescents with special health care needs to help ensure successful transitions. 8
  • New delivery systems are evolving that better serve children with special health care needs using telehealth-connected interprofessional health care teams and creating virtual dental homes. 9
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports provision of preventive oral health services by a dental hygienist under general supervision (i.e., without the presence of the supervising dentist in the treatment facility) following the examination, diagnosis, and treatment plan by the licensed, supervising dentist. 10

References

  1. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2015. Definition of Dental Home.
  2. Bhaskar V, McGraw KA, Divaris K. 2014. The importance of preventive dental visits from a young age: Systematic review and current perspectives. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry 20(8):21–27.
  3. Hammersmith KJ, Siegal MD, Casamassimo PS, Amini H. 2013. Ohio dentists’ awareness and incorporation of the dental home concept. Journal of the American Dental Association 144(6):645–653.
  4. Logan HL, Guo Y, Dodd VJ, Seleski CE, Catalanotto F. 2014. Demographic and practice characteristics of Medicaid-participating dentists. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 8(21–27).
  5. Brickhouse TH, Haldiman RR, Evani B. 2013. The impact of a home visiting program on children’s utilization of dental services. Pediatrics (Suppl 2):S147–S152.
  6. Beil HA, Rozier GR. 2010. Checkup and dental use in children. Pediatrics 126(2):e435–e441.
  7. Kagihara LE, Huebner CE, Mouradian WE, Milgrom P, Anderson BA. 2011. Parents’ perspectives on a dental home for children with special health care needs. Special Care Dentistry 170–177.
  8. Bayarsaikhan Z, Cruz S, Neff J, Chi DL. 2015. Transitioning from pediatric to adult dental care for adolescents with special health care needs: Dentist perspectives—Part two. Pediatric Dentistry 37(5):447–451.
  9. Glassman P, Harrington M, Namakian M, Subar P. 2016. Interprofessional collaboration in improving oral health for special populations. Dental Clinics of North America 60(4):843–856.
  10. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Council on Clinical Affairs. 2014. Policy on Workforce Issues and Delivery of Oral Health Care Service in Dental Home.

OHRC Publications

This section contains OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Barzel R, Holt K. 2012. Child and adolescent oral health issues. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 8 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This fact sheet provides health professionals with information on issues related to child and adolescent oral health. Topics include dental caries, access to care, children and adolescents with special health care needs, dental sealants, fluorides, nutrition, injury and violence, and tobacco. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Casamassimo P, Holt K, eds. 2016. Bright Futures: Oral health—Pocket guide (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 90 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This pocket guide offers health professionals an overview of preventive oral health supervision for five periods—pregnancy and postpartum, infancy, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. The pocket guide is designed to help health professionals implement specific oral health guidelines during these periods. For each period, information about family preparation, risk assessment, interview questions, screening, examination, preventive procedures, anticipatory guidance, measurable outcomes, and referrals are discussed. The content aligns with Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents (4th ed.). [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Holt K. 2011. Dentists and Head Start: What you should know and how you can help (upd. ed.). Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 4 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This tip sheet provides information about how dentists can help address the oral health needs of pregnant women, infants, and children enrolled in Head Start. Topics include an overview of the Head Start program, information on children’s access to services and oral health status, and promising approaches to providing care for Head Start participants. [Funded in part by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Holthouse S, Browne ME, Holt K. 2009. The dental home: Summary from an MCHB expert meeting. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 34 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This document summarizes a meeting of experts held on September 18-19, 2008, in Washington, DC, to define the concept of a dental home. Topics include exploring the concept as it relates to the philosophy and goals of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, relationships between the medical and dental home concepts, concepts defining and establishing dental homes, and identifying promising practices and programs for implementing dental homes. A companion presentation is also available. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

Lowe E, Barzel R, Holt K. 2016. Integrating sustainable oral health services into primary care in school-based health centers: A framework. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 1 v

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This framework offers ideas for school-based health centers (SBHCs) to consider when integrating sustainable comprehensive oral health services into primary care to improve the quality of oral health care of school-age children and adolescents. The framework presents a description of six levels of integration to help SBHCs evaluate their current level of integration and 10 key elements to more fully integrate sustainable comprehensive oral health services into primary care in SBHCs. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2012–. Brush up on oral health. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, monthly

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This tip sheet series provides Head Start staff with information on current practice, practical tips for promoting oral health to share with parents, and recipes for healthy snacks that children can make with Head Start staff or at home with their parents. Topics include children with special health care needs, community water fluoridation, dental caries, dental home, fluoride varnish, health literacy, home visiting, injury, nutrition, pregnancy, school readiness, and tobacco.


Details

National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness. 2014–. Healthy habits for happy smiles. Elk Grove Village, IL: National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness, 26 pp

Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center
Telephone: (866) 763-6481
E-mail: health@ecetta.info
Website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc
Available from the website.

This series of handouts for pregnant women and parents of infants and young children provides simple tips on oral health issues. Topics include taking care of oral health during pregnancy, managing teething pain, taking care of infants’ oral health, brushing children’s teeth, toothbrushing positions and tips for brushing the teeth of children with special health care needs, choosing healthy drinks, giving healthy snacks, getting fluoride, preventing oral injuries, giving first aid for oral injuries, and finding and visiting a dental clinic. The series is available in English and Spanish.


Details

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center. 2012. Targeted MCH oral health service system project highlights. Washington, DC: National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, 4 pp

National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center
Georgetown University Box 571272
Washington, DC 20057-1272

Telephone: (202) 784-9771
E-mail: OHRCinfo@georgetown.edu
Website: https://www.mchoralhealth.org
Available from the website.

This report features activities and products from 20 Targeted MCH Oral Health Service System projects funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau from 2008 to 2011 to foster statewide efforts to prevent oral diseases and to promote oral-health-program sustainability. Topics include increasing age 1 dental visits for children at greatest risk for oral disease, improving access to oral health services for children with special health care needs, and ensuring restorative treatment of active disease through dental sealant programs. [Funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau]

     


OHRC Library

This section contains recent materials, not including OHRC-produced materials.


Details

Glassman P, Harrington M, Namakian M. 2016. Report of the virtual dental home demonstration: Executive summary–Improving the oral health of vulnerable and underserved populations using geographically distributed telehealth-connected teams. San Francisco, CA: University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Pacific Center for Special Care, 16 pp, exec summ (4 pp)

University of the Pacific School of Dentistry, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Pacific Center for Special Care
155 5th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

E-mail: pglassman@pacific.edu
Website: http://www.pacificspecialcare.org
Available from the website.

This document summarizes results from a 6-year demonstration of a system for improving the oral health of groups in the United States that do not receive oral health care on a regular basis and that have high rates of untreated oral disease. The report describes a model that reaches people who do not regularly visit dental offices by bringing services to them using geographically distributed, telehealth-connected teams to provide the essential ingredients of a dental home. Contents include an overview of the system, major accomplishments, lessons learned, and future directions.


Details

Henry Schein Inc. 2015. The patient-centered dental-health home: An essential guide for planning the CHC dental facility expansion. no place: Henry Schein Inc., 68 pp

This manual provides information to help not-for-profit safety net entities expand their services to include oral health services. Topics include planning, needs assessment, target population, scope of practice, procedures and equipment, budget, and design.


Details

Maine Health Educational Services. 2018. Thanks for protecting us 2. [No place]: Maine Health Educational Services, 1 video (3:24 minutes)

This video discusses the importance of healthy primary teeth to children’s overall health and how non-oral-health professionals can play a role in preventing oral disease in infants and young children by administering fluoride varnish as soon as the first tooth emerges. The video also discusses other ways that non-oral-health professionals can encourage good oral health at well-child visits, including providing information about toothbrushing, proper use of bottles, good nutrition, how to establish a dental home, and the importance of establishing a dental home.


Details

TeethFirst!. 2015. Why early dental visits matter. Providence, RI: TeethFirst!, 1 video (4 min, 17 sec)

TeethFirst!
Rhode Island KIDS COUNT One Union Station
Providence, RI 02903

Telephone: (401) 351-9400
Fax: (401) 351-1758
E-mail: info@TeethFirstRI.org
Website: http://www.teethfirstri.org
Available from the website.

This video for parents and other caregivers explains why they should take their infant to the dentist by age 1. Oral health professionals discuss good oral hygiene and nutrition and how early and regular professional oral health care can help to establish a positive professional-family relationship and healthy child development. The video is presented in English with Spanish subtitles.


Details

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General. 2016. Most children with Medicaid in four states are not receiving required dental services. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, 29 pp

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
c/o U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Public Affairs Cohen Building, Room 5541 330 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

Telephone: (202) 619-1343
Fax: (202) 260-8512
E-mail: paffairs@oig.hhs.gov
Website: http://oig.hhs.gov
Available from the website. Document Number: OEI-02-14-00490.

This report describes the extent to which children enrolled in Medicaid in four states (California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Maryland) received pediatric oral health services in 2011 and 2012. The report also describes barriers and strategies to increase access in these states. Contents include background, methodology, findings, recommendations, and conclusions. Topics include the percentage of children who did not receive required oral health services and percentage of those who did not receive all required oral health services, policies that may limit children's ability to receive required services, shortages of dentists who participate in Medicaid, and challenges in educating families about the importance of oral health care.

     

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