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Clinical Protocols and Person-Centered Care

An important tenet of Preventistry, our revolutionary approach to transforming prevention and care, is that care should be person-centered. Person-centered care specifically focuses on the whole person … For each individual, care must be accessible, comprehensive, continuous over time, and coordinated between providers.

At DentaQuest, we encourage the disease management protocol designed by the University of California, San Francisco (and adapted for pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital) that focuses on

  1. treating dental caries (cavities) as a chronic, infectious dental condition; and
  2. learning with the patient, creating a care plan based on the patient and their family’s needs – not a fee schedule.

The DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement has been working with care teams across the country employing this disease management protocol with patients through our Early Childhood Caries (ECC), Dental Caries Management (DCM), and Medical Oral Expanded Care (MORE Care) initiatives. All care, whether in the dental chair, in a medical setting or at school, starts with learning about the patients’ health history and their oral health habits.

Did you know that most bacteria form in the mouth by age 3? That’s why intervening early and often is so critical. ECC, meaning severe tooth decay in young children, is a chronic, infectious dental disease that is almost completely preventable! Once an oral health professional knows more about a patient and their habits, the focus shifts to how to best care for this specific person’s teeth.

The disease management protocol aims to help patients and their families understand the disease – what causes cavities and, more importantly, what we can do to stop them from happening in the first place. The protocol treats, stabilizes and manages the disease. It works because the health professional, using effective communication skills, has a conversation with each patient and formulates a care plan together based on existing habits and what matters to the patient.

As part of our Preventistry approach, we’re working to end the days of walking into the dentist’s office with a cavity. Instead, we can intervene where people live, work, learn and play to improve oral health for all.

To learn more, watch the Dental Caries Management Virtual Practicum Let’s Get Started video - created by the DentaQuest Partnership for oral health professionals and those interested in learning about person-centered oral health clinical protocols.