Screen, Advise, & Advocate!
Many areas lack dental providers, creating an additional reason for primary care providers to address oral health. The medical home is the dental home until primary care clinicians can help patients find appropriate dental care.
Primary care clinicians should:
- Counsel patients on oral health promotion
- Screen for oral disease and facilitate appropriate referrals
- Focus on prenatal oral health and develop fluoride varnish programs for infants and children
- Collaborate with schools, Head Start, and health providers promoting oral health in the community
- Consider further training to learn skills such as anesthetic blocks, biopsies, and incision and drainage (if access is not available)
- Know your local resources, such as dental providers who accept Medicaid and Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHCs) that offer dental services.