Periodicity of Dental Recall Visits for Young Children First Seen in Community Health Centers
OBJECTIVES: To study the factors associated with young children who had their first dental visit (FDV) at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and returned within 12 months for a second dental episode.
METHODS: Two hundred Medicaid-enrolled children who were less than 6 years old were randomly selected from five Iowa FQHCs. Dental utilization was followed for 36 months using dental charts and Medicaid medical and dental claims data, regardless of provider. Child's birth certificate data were also used as covariates. Multivariable logistic regression, using backward elimination, was used to identify variables that were associated with whether a child returned for a dental recall visit within 1 year of the initial dental episode.
RESULTS: About 56% of the children returned for dental care within 1 year of their initial episode. The number of children in the household had a positive impact on children returning for a second dental episode. However, an increase in the frequency of medical well-child visits at the FQHC prior to the FDV had a negative influence. Unadjusted analysis demonstrated that children with dental caries at the FDV were less likely to return within 12 months; however, this variable failed to make the final regression model. Moreover, age at FDV did not make a difference in regard to returning for a second episode within 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS: The experience gained from having other Medicaid-enrolled children in the household appears to be important for younger children entering into continuous and comprehensive dental care.