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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 assess the impact of preventive dental services (screening, oral health education, and fluoride varnish) given by pediatric medical providers with an assessment of caregivers interviewed at baseline and at 6-months follow-up.Methods: Using a prospective cohort study design, an oral health knowledge and socio-demographic questionnaire was delivered to a cross-section of caregivers of preschool-aged children seen at VCU Children's Pavilion. Baseline data was used to conduct a cross-sectional analysis of caregivers prior to their children receiving preventive dental services (screening, oral health education, and fluoride varnish). Subsequently, six months into the program, caregivers of children receiving preventive dental services were retested on their oral health knowledge. The 23-item 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. Data collection occurred in the clinic waiting rooms and the examination rooms. Results: A sample of 120 caregivers completed the baseline questionnaire. Caregivers at baseline reported 89% of the children have never been to a dentist. Sixty-four percent of caregivers have never been told by a doctor or nurse when their child should go to the dentist. After receiving preventive dental care in a primary care setting, there was a significant increase in the use of fluoridated toothpaste and less trouble brushing the child's teeth. Caregivers reported a significant increase in information given to them by medical residents about how to brush the child's teeth.Conclusion: The delivery of preventive dental services in a primary care setting is effective in improving certain aspects of caregiver oral health knowledge, though persistence is needed to further caregiver education in an effort to improve the oral health of children.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008