Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry

First Advisor

Dr. Arthur P. Mourino


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the knowledge, attitudes, and experiences related to infant oral health for both dental and medical providers.Methods: A survey of infant oral health care was sent to 300 randomly selected general dentists, 300 randomly selected pediatricians, and all pediatric dentists in Virginia. The survey contained questions regarding the providers' routine infant oral health care regimen. In addition demographic data from the provider was collected. Responses to the questionnaire were tabulated and percent frequency distributions for responses to each item computed. Percents for all items were based on the total number of respondents in each of the three practitioner groups.Results: The response rate of the survey was 48%. While 100% of pediatricians treat the infant population, only 5% refer for the first dental visit by age one. In addition compared to dentists fewer pediatricians examine for dental decay or give oral hygiene instructions. Less than half of general dentists surveyed treat the infant population and only 12% refer for the first dental visit by age one. Compared to pediatricians and pediatric dentists general dentists were less likely to discuss the first dental visit or nutritional counseling. Amongst the three practitioner types, pediatric dentists provide the most thorough dental exam, however only 25% actually treat infants by one year of age. Access to dental care remains a significant factor in early childhood caries.Conclusion: Results from this research suggest that the majority of pediatricians and general dentists are not advising patients to see the dentist by one year of age. Concurrently the majority of dentists are not treating patients at one year of age, resulting in a critical problem with access to care. There is a need for increased infant oral health care education in the medical and dental communities to appropriately handle this infant population.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008