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Examining the Cost-effectiveness of Early Dental Visits

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The subject of early dental visits as an integral dimension of anticipatory guidance and the related supporting scientific evidence for this concept is a critical and timely issue for the dental profession. The purpose of this paper was to review the scientific evidence and rationale for early dental visits. In theory, early dental visits can prevent disease and reduce costs. During the age 1 dental visit, there is strong emphasis on prevention and parents are given: (1) counseling on infant oral hygiene; (2) home and office-based fluoride therapies; (3) dietary counseling; and (4) information relative to oral habits and dental injury prevention. There is evidence that the early preventive visits can reduce the need for restorative and emergency care, therefore reducing dentally related costs among high-risk children. Preschool Medicaid children who had an early preventive dental visit by age 1 were more likely to use subsequent preventive services and experienced less dentally related costs. These finding have significant policy implications, and more research is needed to examine this effect in a low-risk population.
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Keywords: AGE 1 DENTAL VISIT; ANTICIPATORY GUIDANCE; DENTAL USE; DENTAL VISITS; DENTALLY RELATED COSTS; PREVENTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2006

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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