Collections > UNC Scholarly Publications > BioMed Central > Care coordination among pediatricians and dentists: a cross-sectional study of opinions of North Carolina dentists

Abstract: Background: Care coordination between physicians and dentists remains a challenge. This study of dentists providing pediatric dental care examined their opinions about physicians’ role in oral health and identified factors associated with these opinions. Methods: North Carolina general and pediatric dentists were surveyed on their opinions of how physicians should proceed after caries risk assessment and evaluation of an 18-month-old, low risk child. We estimated two multinomial logistic regression models to examine dentists’ responses to the scenario under the circumstances of an adequate and a limited dental workforce. Results: Among 376 dentists, 52% of dentists indicated physicians should immediately refer this child to a dental home with an adequate dental workforce. With a limited workforce, 34% recommended immediate referral. Regression analysis indicated that with an adequate workforce guideline awareness was associated with a significantly lower relative risk of dentists’ recommending the child remain in the medical home than immediate referral. Conclusions: Dentists’ opinions and professional guidelines on how physicians should promote early childhood oral health differ and warrant strategies to address such inconsistencies. Without consistent guidelines and their application, there is a missed opportunity to influence provider opinions to improve access to dental care.