To evaluate the prevalence of dental care visits (DCV) in 2007 in the United States among Medicaid-enrolled children from birth to age 18 and measure progress since 2002.
By using Medicaid research files and information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 416 Early Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment forms, we calculated the prevalence of DCV in 50 states and the District of Columbia, stratifying by age, race, type of health plan, and Children’s Health Insurance Program status.
The prevalence of having DCV ranged from 12% depending on age, to 49% with a median value of 33% but did not exceed 50% in any state. The median percent change between 2002 and 2007 was 16%. DCV among toddlers and infants were low in all but 3 states and in most states peaked at age of school entry to >60% in some states. In most states, there were few racial differences in the prevalence of DCV. Children enrolled in Primary Care Case Management tended to have the highest DCV, the effect of Children’s Health Insurance Program enrollment on the number of DCV was generally positive.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the prevalence of dental care by using paid Medicaid claims. Consistent with other reports, levels of DCV were low; but when the number of DCV was stratified by age and type plan, striking patterns emerged suggesting that a combination of school programs and having a medical home may have a positive impact on dental care.