oral health

Dentistry Today

The dental profession is undergoing substantial demographic changes, especially in relation to gender. A new study conducted by the Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC) at the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) builds on their previous work on gender diversity in dentistry. Researchers used data from the 2014-2018 American Community Survey (ACS) to assess variation in workforce participation patterns among dentists related to certain personal characteristics…

…“Diversity within the dental profession is a widely embraced goal,” says OHWRC Co-Deputy Director Margaret Langelier. “One desirable outcome is that dentistry becomes increasingly representative of the patient community, which has been shown to improve access to care. Prior research suggests that female dentists treat more children and more publicly insured patients than their male counterparts. The growth in the number of women in dentistry may expand the capacity of the delivery system to better meet the needs of the population, particularly the underserved.”

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University at Albany

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 18, 2021) – Research conducted by Simona Surdu and Margaret Langelier at the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies found that children’s utilization of oral health teledentistry services in general dentistry clinics shortened their waiting period for specialty treatment services.

The study included 144 children from rural New York who had live-video teledentistry consultations with pediatric dental specialists at local general dentistry clinics. During the teledentistry visits, pediatric dental specialists provided the children with consultation services, whereas treatment services were provided in-person at the specialty detal clinic at a later date…

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The Nation’s Health

The U.S. dental workforce is welcoming more women into its ranks, which could have implications for access to oral health care.

In July, the University of Albany’s Oral Health Workforce Research Center released a new study on the demographics of women in dentistry and the related potential impacts for underserved communities.

According to the study, in 2016, nearly 30% of all U.S. dentists were women, compared to 24% in 2010. Overall, women dentists were also younger and more diverse than men in the field, with higher proportions of black, Hispanic and foreign-trained dentists. Women dentists were also more likely to serve young patients, practice in urban areas and care for patients with public insurance coverage, such as Medicaid.

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Dentistry Today

Primary care postgraduate dental training programs supported by competitive Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grant funding play a significant role in providing care to underserved populations, according to a study from the Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC) at the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies

…“While this research is limited to a subset of HRSA’s overall investments, the study clearly shows the impact of federal funding on building institutional capacity to produce a sufficient dental workforce to meet the demand in primary care dentistry,” said OHWRC investigator Elizabeth Mertz. “The graduates of these programs are contributing in large measure to the oral healthcare of vulnerable and underserved patients in the US.”

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Pew Trusts

A strong research base finds that dental sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay. Sealants can reduce the risk of decay in permanent molars—the teeth most prone to cavities—by 80 percent in the first two years after application and continue to be effective after more than four years.

Yet most low-income children—who are least likely to receive routine dental care—lack sealants. According to the most recent data, 61 percent of low-income 6- to 11-year-olds (6.5 million) lacked sealants.2 A recent study found that if all 6.5 million low-income children who lacked sealants were to receive them, it would prevent 3.4 million cavities over four years.3 With this strong evidence of sealants’ effectiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, and numerous other health organizations recommend sealant programs in schools, especially as an optimal location to provide low-income children with preventive care.4 Yet a 2015 Pew report found that such programs are in fewer than half of high-need schools in 39 states…

…State practice acts might include requirements that dentists examine children before a hygienist can seal their teeth in school, that dentists be present while a hygienist performs this service, or that private dentists cannot employ hygienists working in schools. They may also include rules that set very low limits on the numbers of school-based hygienists that any one dentist can supervise. In describing dental hygiene scope of practice rules, a 2016 report from the national Oral Health Workforce Research Center stated, “State-based regulatory constraints for dental hygienists may impede access to care as much as the economic and logistical barriers that are known to prevent some patients from obtaining oral health services.”5 In more recent research, the center found that a “more autonomous dental hygienist scope of practice had a positive and significant association with population oral health in both 2001 and 2014.”

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Oral Health Kansas Newsletter

Elizabeth Mertz, PhD, a dental sociologist and associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry (UCSF), did research on the dental care gap. She discussed the challenges older adults face when trying to access dental care, as well as the ways four states (California, Florida, Minnesota and North Carolina) are trying to solve those challenges.

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DentistryToday.com

Teledentistry is emerging as a practical solution for patients living in rural areas, according to the University of Albany. Its researchers report that teledentistry can provide critical services where gaps currently exist, especially for treatment planning and specialty consultations, as a means to improve access to oral health services in areas with inadequate availability of general and specialty dental care.

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OralHealthGroup.com

Teledentistry is emerging as a practical solution for patients living in rural areas, according to a new report by researchers at the University at Albany. The Oral Health Workforce Research Center (OHWRC) at the Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) recently published “Case Studies of 6 Teledentistry Programs: Strategies to Increase Access to General and Specialty Dental Services,” summarizing findings from a study of oral health providers on their use of teledentisty services.

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MedicalXpress.com

Research conducted by the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies (CHWS) finds that in states where dental hygienists are allowed by law to practice at higher levels of professional competence and skill, the population’s oral health notably improves. The paper, published in Health Affairs‘ December 2016 thematic issue on , examines impacts of “scope of practice” on oral health outcomes. Scope of practice for health professionals is defined by individual states’ laws and regulations, which describe permissible settings, allowable services, and requisite supervision by other health professionals.

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Newswise.com

The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) is pleased that Health Affairs recognizes the enormous impact oral health has on the overall public health system in the U.S. by devoting an entire issue to the subject. ADHA has long advocated evidence-based oral health management strategies for the prevention of oral and systemic diseases.

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