Unmet dental needs in rural primary care: A clinic-, community-, and practice-based research network collaborative

Melinda Davis, Thomas (Tom) Hilton, Sean Benson, Jon Schott, Alan Howard, Paul McGinnis, Lyle Fagnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Oral health is an essential component of general health and well-being, yet barriers to the access of dental care and unmet needs are pronounced, particularly in rural areas. Despite associations with systemic health, few studies have assessed unmet dental needs across the lifespan as they present in primary care. This study describes the prevalence of oral health conditions and unmet dental needs among patients presenting for routine care in a rural Oregon family medicine practice. Methods: Eight primary care clinicians were trained to conduct basic oral health screenings for 7 dental conditions associated with International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 9 - Clinical Modification codes. During the 6-week study period, patients older than 12 months of age who presented to the practice for a regularly scheduled appointment received the screening and completed a brief dental access survey. Results: Of 1655 eligible patients, 40.7% (n = 674) received the screening and 66.9% (n = 1108) completed the survey. Half of the patients who were screened (46.0%, n = 310) had oral health conditions detected, including partial edentulism (24.5%), dental caries (12.9%), complete edentulism (9.9%), and cracked teeth (8.9%). Twenty-eight percent of the patients reported experiencing unmet dental needs. Patients with dental insurance were significantly more likely to report better oral and general health outcomes as compared with those who had no insurance or health insurance only. Conclusions: Oral health diseases and unmet dental needs presented substantially in patients with ages ranging across the lifespan from one rural primary care practice. Primary care settings may present opportune environments for reaching patients who are unable to obtain regular dental care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-522
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010

Fingerprint

Primary Health Care
Tooth
Oral Health
Research
Dental Care
Mouth Diseases
Dental Insurance
Family Practice
Health
Dental Caries
International Classification of Diseases
Health Insurance
Insurance
Appointments and Schedules
Cross-Sectional Studies
Medicine

Keywords

  • Community-based participatory research
  • Oral health
  • PBRN
  • Practice-based research
  • Rural health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Unmet dental needs in rural primary care : A clinic-, community-, and practice-based research network collaborative. / Davis, Melinda; Hilton, Thomas (Tom); Benson, Sean; Schott, Jon; Howard, Alan; McGinnis, Paul; Fagnan, Lyle.

In: Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Vol. 23, No. 4, 2010, p. 514-522.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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