Environmental Factors in Implementing the Dental Home for All Young Children

By: Burton Edelstein

While the dental home concept is clearly articulated by organized dentistry and accepted as policy, its widespread adoption and implementation will require consideration of environmental factors that include: (1) the advent of social medicine, (2) expanding knowledge of caries risk and its management; (3) trends in oral health disparities and the demography that drives those disparities; (4) parents’ perceived needs for, and barriers to, dental care; (5) dentistry’s relationship to medicine as a profession; and (6) dental services capacity. Issues of cost and effectiveness will impact implementation decisions regarding how the most vulnerable children will benefit and how the medical and dental homes will coordinate.

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