May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3

 
 
 
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Pediatric Dentistry’s Contribution to Access

March 2013 Volume XLVIX Number 2

 The AAPD collaborated with American Dental Associations Survey Center to develop an informational review of information obtained from the 2012 Survey of Dental Practice. Survey of Dental Practice collected information from dentists about the previous year of operation, 2011. For this survey year, pediatric dentists were oversampled  in order to obtain enough responses from those specialists to allow for reliable statistical analysis. The information presented below represents information obtained from that survey as it relates to access

to care. The survey will be available shortly for download from the AAPD website.

The contemporary pediatric dental practice demonstrates the specialtys commitment to access to care. The specialty appears to have taken the banner of improving access. In 1998, government programs accounted for only about 12 percent of practice billings, but by 2012, that percentage had risen to almost 23 percent.

The survey suggests that the pediatric dentist in the small town may be a major point of dental access for rural children. Of all population densities in the study, communities with 88,000 or fewer people saw pediatric dentists with the most patients on public assistance, the most patient visits in a year, more walk-in emergencies, and the least likely to feel that they could be busier. One implication of this finding is that pediatric dentists in these communities are providing consistent dental home services across socioeconomic strata and by doing so, helping to maintain a single standard of care for all children. Another implication is that preventive services are more available to higher caries-risk children in these communities than in larger populationdense areas.

Close to 70 percent of pediatric dentists report accepting patients covered by public assistance programs (Medicaid and CHIP) (Table 52), which comprise slightly over 25 percent of their patient population. In regards to the treatment of patients with special health care or developmental needs, virtually all pediatric dentists (99.5 percent) report including this population in their practice.

Both general and pediatric dentists provide charitable dental care through a variety of ways. State dental associations often have programs called "Donated Dental Services (DDS)", where they or their foundations employ a program coordinator who helps coordinate dental care for the most disadvantaged or disabled in that state. The dentists volunteering for DDS donate services in their own offices. Dental laboratories often also contribute services. According to the Dental Lifeline Network there are over 15,000 dentists and 3,000 laboratories participating across the country. Since 1986, the Donated Dental Services (DDS) program reports over $200 million in donated dental therapies, transforming the lives of 106,000 vulnerable people nationwide. Approximately 75 percent of Pediatric Dentists report providing charitable dental care by offering reduced fees at an average of 25 percent in addition to providing free care at an estimate of $12,990-$23,840 annually. Other charitable dental programs that pediatric dentists participate in are Give Kids a Smile Days and Mission of Mercy projects that occur across the nation on a regular basis.

Table 52: Percentage of Pediatric Dentists Who Had Patients Covered by various Types of Insurance, by Employment Situation, 2011

 

 

Pediatric  Dentists1

 

Private insurance

 

Public assistance

Not covered by insurance

All owners

99.4%

68.6%

96.8%

Solo practitioners

99.3

67.3

96.4

Nonsolo owners

99.5

72.6

98.1

Employed

97.8

73.3

96.8

All pediatric dentists

99.3

69.1

96.6

 

Source: American Dental Association, Survey Center, 2012 Survey of  Dental Practice.

 

Table 53: Pediatric Dentists Treating and Accepting Medicaidand CHIP-insured Patients, 2011

 

 

 

 

Pediatric  Dentists1

Treat Medicaidinsured patients

 

Accept new Medicaidinsured patients

Treat CHIP-

covered patients

Accept new CHIP-

covered patients

All owners

57.5%

50.4%

46.3%

44.2%

Solo practitioners

56.6

49.8

46.6

44.8

Nonsolo owners

60.3

52.0

45.2

42.4

Employed

64.0

61.8

50.0

49.6

All pediatric dentists

58.0

51.3

46.7

44.8

 

Source: American Dental Association, Survey Center, 2012 Survey of  Dental Practice.

 

Table 63: Pediatric Dentists Providing Care to Any Patients with Special Health Care Needs in Their Primary Practice, 2011

 

Pediatric Dentists

Percent

N

All owners

99.7%

627

Solo practitioners

99.7

330

Nonsolo owners

99.7

297

Employees

97.9

96

All pediatric dentists

99.5

749

 

Source: American Dental Association, Survey Center, 2012 Survey of  Dental Practice.

For more information, contact AAPD Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center Assistant Director Jan Silverman at jsilverman@aapd.org.