08:15 AM

A National Focus on Public Health Dentistry

DentaQuest just returned from the 2010 National Oral Health Conference. In what may be a sign of an improving economy and perhaps of the heightened interest in oral health as a result of health reform, this was one of the best attended conferences in recent memory, with 800 individuals and 30 exhibitors involved in 5 days of programming. Held in the gateway city of St. Louis, the 2010 conference involved a very broad spectrum of dentists, dental hygienists, health researchers, dental and health educators, legislators, and public health officials all engaged in the important work of improving the oral health of the American public.

DentaQuest had several opportunities to talk about the work we’re doing to improve oral health.

Using the DentaQuest Institute's recent quality improvement work for the treatment of Early Childhood Caries (ECC) as an example, we talked about the success we have had with an evidence-based, risk-based disease management approach (chart above) that is similar to the concept of chronic care management of medical conditions. Scroll down to our March blog post on our Early Childhood Caries Initiative to learn more. The results of this pilot are impressive and we are looking forward to get other dental practices to use this model in 2010.

Our Safety Net Solutions team introduced an innovative online learning center at www.snsportal.net. The SNS Portal is part classroom, part library, part chat room, and part town square – and 100% tailored to the information needs of clinical care staff and administrators of safety net dental programs. Safety Net Solutions Program Director Dr. Mark Doherty gave a very well received presentation on surviving the economic downturn for safety net dental providers. It will be reprised as a webinar through the online learning center. Visit the online learning center for dates and registration details.

DentaQuest Foundation President, Ralph Fuccillo, spoke to conference attendees about philanthropy's important leadership role in oral health. And, the Foundation’s Director of Programs and Policy, Dr. Michael Monopoli, discussed the role of foundations in supporting programs that are making system-wide changes to improve oral health.

The DentaQuest Institute is the only national, non-profit providing clinical care, practice management and technology solutions that help oral health care providers improve oral health. The DentaQuest Foundation is the largest national philanthropy dedicated solely to oral health.

I happen to think that the greatest benefit from the National Oral Health Conference is the opportunity for our team to connect with dental public health leaders from across the United States. It makes us better at the work we do with partners across the country in developing and implementing more effective approaches to preventing and managing oral disease.

Guest Post by Brian Souza, Managing Director of the DentaQuest Institute