Oral Health in Rural Communities – Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve
as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects
or programs may no longer be active. Read about the
criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Need: In Colorado, 31% of children have experienced dental decay by the time they reach kindergarten. With several frontier and rural counties in Colorado considered dental deserts, options for oral healthcare are limited.
Intervention: Cavity Free at Three (CF3) works to improve access to preventive oral health for pregnant women and young children. While CF3 is a statewide effort, 87% of the program's target counties are considered rural or frontier.
Results: CF3 has trained over 5,000 medical and dental professionals in performing preventive dental health. The percentage of children who received oral healthcare from a medical or dental provider before the age of 2 has progressively increased, and fewer Colorado children have cavities now than they did 10 years ago.
Need: Dentists in Polk County, Oregon who accepted Oregon Health Plan were booked out for months, causing patients with dental needs to have to wait for an appointment or travel to an adjoining county for dental care.
Intervention: Capitol Dental Care began a Virtual Dental Home teledentistry model to bring preventive dental care to 3 elementary schools and several Head Start programs.
Results: Through this program, over 700 students have received dental care in their schools.