Timing of First Dental Visits for Newly Medicaid-Enrolled Children With an Intellectual or Developmental Disability in Iowa, 2005–2007

Chi, D.L.; Momany, E.T.; Jones, M.P.; Damiano, P.C.


Objectives. We evaluated the relationship between having an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) and the timing of the first dental visit for children who were newly enrolled in Medicaid in Iowa.

Methods. We identified children aged 3 to 8 years with and without IDD who were newly enrolled in the Iowa Medicaid program in 2005 (N = 5391). We gathered data on presence of IDD, health status, age at baseline, gender, length of Medicaid enrollment, medical care visits, household Medicaid enrollment, urbanization, residence in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), and time of first dental visit through 2007.

Results. About 32% of children had a first dental visit within 6 months of enrollment; this proportion increased to 49%, 64%, and 74% by years 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In the unadjusted models, there was no significant difference between children with and without IDD in time to first dental visit (P = .22). After adjusting for model covariates, however, children with IDD were 31% more likely to have a delayed first dental visit (P = .04).

Conclusions. Newly Medicaid-enrolled children aged 3 to 8 years with IDD in Iowa were significantly more likely to have a later first dental visit. Future interventions should focus on ensuring timely access to first dental visits for all Medicaid-enrolled children, with an emphasis on those with IDD.