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Dental Home Model

The dental home model of care is a comprehensive approach to improving oral health access for vulnerable populations by providing a regular source of care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry adopted the dental home as a policy in 2001 and defined it as:

“the ongoing relationship between the dentist and the patient, inclusive of all aspects of oral health care delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated, and family-centered way.”

The dental home model emphasizes overall wellness through improved oral health status, increased collaboration among providers, and the promotion of health education. Rural communities are designing dental homes for both adults and children.

The Michigan Community Dental Clinic program has been replicated in rural communities. This network of public health clinics serves adults and children on Medicaid as well as low income, uninsured individuals. This program is striving to expand the clinic system to establish dental homes for persons unable to obtain care in private sector settings.

Implementation considerations

The dental home model emphasizes wellness, prevention, and disease management. The staff that support dental homes may include dental hygienists, dental assistants, nutritionists, and health educators. The services provided through dental home programs may include screenings, referrals for other services, and outreach to identify people who are at greatest risk of oral disease. Because of the services provided and the outreach component, the dental home model requires collaboration across other providers, agencies, and organizations in the community.

Resources to Learn More

Michigan Community Dental Clinics
Website
This program helps local health departments in Michigan establish dental clinics, based on the successful Dental Clinics North model.

Policy on the Dental Home
Document
This policy brief on dental homes is from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry which supports the concept of having a dental home for all infants, children, adolescents, and persons with special healthcare needs.
Organization(s): American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Date: 2015

Policy on Workforce Issues and Delivery of Oral Health Services in a Dental Home
Document
This policy brief on workforce issues and delivery of service is from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The AAPD focuses on the benefits of dental services delivered within a dentist-directed dental home.
Organization(s): American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
Date: 2019