Surdu S, Langelier M. Teledentistry: Increasing Utilisation of Oral-health Services for Children in Rural Areas. J Telemed Telecare. Published online October 18, 2020. doi: 10.1177/1357633X20965425.
The objective of this study was to evaluate factors influencing utilisation of follow-up oral-health services in general dentistry clinics among children subsequent to a teledentistry consultation and treatment with a paediatric dental specialist. The study found that case severity and compliance with treatment were predictors of utilisation of oral-health services in general dentistry clinics. An additional finding was that case-management interventions were important in facilitating specialty dental care.
The dental workforce is increasingly gender diverse. This study analyzed gender differences in dental practice using the American Dental Association’s 2010-2016 Masterfile and the 2017 Survey of Dental Practice. Between 2010 and 2016, the proportion of women working in dentistry increased from 24.5% to 29.8%. Overall, female dentists were more racially/ethnically diverse, more likely to be foreign-trained, and more likely to work in pediatric dentistry than male dentists. The likelihood of female dentists working as employees, part-time, and/or in metropolitan areas was 1.2 to 4.2 times greater compared with male dentists. Female solo practitioners were 1.2 to 1.8 times more likely to provide services to children and patients covered by public insurance than male solo practitioners. Gender diversification in dentistry and other factors, including generational differences and changes in the dental service delivery system and public policy, will continue to reshape the delivery of oral health services.
Over the past decade, legislatures across the United States have grappled with scope of practice issues for health professions, including dental hygiene. Almost every state has provided new permissions or enabled conditions for broader practice in response to new technology, improved science, novel dental materials, or alternative methods for delivery of care. Downstream effects of these changes include opportunities for innovative dental hygiene practice. In addition, the fundamental shift in health care delivery away from the medical paradigm of identifying and treating existing disease toward early intervention in prevention of disease processes has had collateral effects on dentistry and dental hygiene. Dental hygienists’ competencies are grounded in patient education, motivational interviewing, and preventive and prophylactic clinical services. This expertise has positioned the profession to play a pivotal role in efforts to improve the oral health of the US population. Dental hygienists are now more commonly viewed as primary preventive oral health specialists with separate and critical responsibilities in the oral health care continuum of care.
Supply and demand projections came from a health workforce tool that investigators have used to model the health care workforce for a wide variety of health occupations, including dentists.We provide a brief summary of the data, methods, and assumptions for modeling supply and demand, with additional information provided in a technical appendix (available online at the end of this article).