Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry

First Advisor

Dr. Tegwyn H. Brickhouse


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the baseline oral health status of infants and the level of their caregiver's oral health knowledge for families who received preventive oral health services in a medical setting. Methods: Using a prospective cohort study, children 0-3 years of age received an oral health screening, risk assessment, caregiver education, and a fluoride varnish treatment in an ambulatory pediatric medical clinic. A 16-item oral health knowledge and socio-demographic questionnaire was delivered to the caregiver of child. This questionnaire included knowledge, behavior and opinion items on risk factors for dental diseases, care of child's teeth, and socio-demographic characteristics of the family. Six-months after the medical visit, dental claims were examined to see if children had made a dental visit. Results: One hundred and ninety-five children received preventive oral health services in this clinic. Of these, 103 caregivers agreed to complete the oral health knowledge and socio-demographic questionnaire. Twenty-percent of children screening had visible signs of tooth decay, according to risk-assessment 72% were categorized as high-risk for tooth decay, and 83% received a fluoride varnish treatment. At 6-months, 9% of children were found to have had a dental visit. According to the caregiver questionnaire the likelihood of having a dental visit was correlated with the caregiver's knowledge of when a child should have their first dental visit and having been told by a medical professional when their child should be going to the dentist. Conclusion: Children are more likely to have a dental visit when caregivers are aware of the age 1 dental visit, or when advised to seek care by a medical professional. With increased education of medical providers, starting in medical residency training, more children can be seen for preventive oral health care resulting in an earlier establishment of a dental home.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008