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Preventive Services by Medical and Dental Providers and Treatment Outcomes.

Kranz AM, Rozier RG, Preisser JS, Stearns SC, Weinberger M, Lee JY. Preventive Services by Medical and Dental Providers and Treatment Outcomes. Journal of dental research. 2014 Jul 1; 93(7):633-8.

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OBJECTIVE: Nearly all state Medicaid programs reimburse nondental primary care providers (PCPs) for providing preventive oral health services to young children; yet, little is known about how treatment outcomes compare with children visiting dentists. This study compared the association between the provider of preventive services (PCP, dentist, or both) with Medicaid-enrolled children before their third birthday and subsequent dental caries-related treatment (CRT) and CRT payment. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study of young children enrolled in North Carolina Medicaid during 2000 to 2006. The annual number of CRT and CRT payments per child between the ages of 3 and 5 yr were estimated with a zero-inflated negative binomial regression and a hurdle model, respectively. Models were adjusted for relevant child- and county-level characteristics and used propensity score weighting to address observed confounding. RESULTS: We examined 41,453 children with > 1 preventive oral health visit from a PCP, dentist, or both before their third birthday. Unadjusted annual mean CRT and payments were lowest among children who had only PCP visits (CRT = 0.87, payment = $172) and higher among children with only dentist visits (CRT = 1.48, payment = $234) and both PCP and dentist visits (CRT = 1.52, payment = $273). Adjusted results indicated that children who had dentist visits (with or without PCP visits) had significantly more CRT and higher CRT payments per year during the ages of 3 and 4 yr than children who had only PCP visits. However, these differences attenuated each year after age 3 yr. CONCLUSIONS: Because of children's increased opportunity to receive multiple visits in medical offices during well-child visits, preventive oral health services provided by PCPs may lead to a greater reduction in CRT than dentist visits alone. This study supports guidelines and reimbursement policies that allow preventive dental visits based on individual needs.

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