In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health (Volume 6, Number 2, 2018, pp. 77-84(8); DOI: https:/
The case for interprofessional oral health care to address the epidemic of early childhood caries has been well litigated. The evidence supports the clinical and cost-effectiveness of primary care-based oral health risk assessments and fluoride varnish applications. Many studies have demonstrated the successful adoption of interprofessional oral health practices at the clinic, system, and state levels. While the personal attributes and opinions of individual physicians and pediatricians have been explored, few studies have examined the organization and system characteristics that enable or facilitate use of fluoride varnish or oral health risk assessments.
Physicians have communicated they are more likely to provide fluoride varnish if they have proper training, have access to patient data to determine eligibility, have access to dentists to whom they can refer patients, and are engaged by leadership in the decision to provide the services. The business case for oral health interprofessional practice was presented in a single state study that demonstrated its cost-efficiency albeit with diminishing returns depending on reimbursement levels.
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