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Survey of Treatment Provided for Young Children by West Virginia General Dentists

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to survey the treatment provided by West Virginia general dentists (GDs) for young children. Methods: A survey was mailed to 683 GDs in West Virginia. Respondents were questioned about their referrals to pediatric dentists, the youngest age for which they perform specific procedures, conscious sedation utilization, and whether they treat Medicaid-covered children. Results: The response rate was 72%. Half of the GDs responded that they frequently referred children younger than 3 years old, and only one third reported performing dental examinations on a child 2 years old or younger. All responding GDs performed the surveyed procedures in 5-year-olds, but fewer respondents performed complex procedures for children ≤2 years old. More than half of the GDs responded that they frequently had difficulty with referrals to a pediatric dentist due to distance/transportation or not accepting new Medicaid patients. Medicaid-covered children were not treated by 25% of general dentists. Conclusions: Most GDs in West Virginia treat older children, but care is limited for children ≤2 years old. Further studies are needed to uncover the specifics of these findings to improve the access and care for young West Virginia children.
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Keywords: DENTAL REFERRALS; DENTAL SURVEY; MEDICAID; TREATMENT OF CHILDREN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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