Monday Roundtable Luncheon
A baby sees their medical provider an average of seven times during their first year of life and is advised to see a dentist when their first tooth erupts. It is imperative to integrate both medical and dental interventions to educate parents on the importance of oral health, early childhood caries prevention, and connect the child to a dental home.
The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (DHS) provides services for low income and uninsured patients. It is a safety-net for those without access to health care services. In 2016, MidValley Comprehensive Health Center (MVCHC), a clinic within DHS, began a medical-dental collaboration program which implemented fluoride varnish applications during well-child visits for patients ages five and under. A comprehensive one-hour training was provided to all nurses and certified nursing assistants at MVCHC on early childhood caries and the benefits of fluoride treatment. The training also included instructions on how to properly apply fluoride varnish, document, and track the number of applications.
In 2017, this program was adopted at six additional comprehensive health centers within DHS and in late 2018 it was adopted by the Interdisciplinary Practices Committee to make it a standardized protocol for all nursing staff at DHS. Pediatric patients that visit the health facilities are at high-risk of dental caries. The goal of this evidence-based preventive service is to help reduce the risk of high cost dental treatment and connect the patients to a dental home.