By Word of Mouth: A Qualitative Approach to Understanding the Integration of Preventive Dental Health in Primary Care Settings

Joni D. Nelson, University of South Carolina - Columbia


Childhood and adolescence are sensitive periods in the lifespan when oral and craniofacial appearances can help determine social interactions and lifetime outcomes. In this respect, oral health can be viewed as more than just brushing or flossing for healthy teeth; children’s oral health can influence their social development and behaviors, impact their academic growth, affect their guardian’s responsibility for healthcare cost and create a potential pathway for negative impacts on quality of life. Access to quality oral healthcare is vital for the prevention of unwanted diseases and to avoid the burden of oral health complications. Oral health disparities may not be the consequence of negligence, but rather, the result of unmet needs and limited access to quality oral health care. Collaborations within systems of care that include medical and dental health professionals may lead to opportunities for improvements in oral health and overall health among children and adolescents. This research study was focused on medical-dental collaboration model and its potential to provide an opportunity to meet the oral health needs of children and adolescents. Therefore, the overall goal of this study was to understand how preventive dental health was integrated in the pediatric primary care settings that participated in the Quality through Technology & Innovation in Pediatrics (QTIP) demonstration project.