Prioritizing Preventive Care: A Conversation With TennCare Providers
At DentaQuest, we’re committed to promoting preventive care and helping patients prioritize it beginning in early childhood and lasting throughout their adult life. As part of this commitment, we’ve introduced programs to recognize and reward providers for their preventive care efforts.
Recently, we completed one of these programs in Tennessee and distributed bonus payments to providers who focused on minimally invasive preventive care to improve health outcomes for TennCare members. DentaQuest had the opportunity to speak to Robert Caldwell, DMD, and William Campbell, DDS, two pediatric dentists who completed the most silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and sealant applications, about their approach to preventive care and why it’s so important to oral health.
How long have you been working with DentaQuest Tennessee?
Caldwell: I’ve worked with DentaQuest since I began my practice in December 2005.
Campbell: I’ve worked with DentaQuest for over 20 years and have accepted TennCare patients from the beginning.
In your opinion, why are SDF and sealants treatments important to a person’s oral health?
Caldwell: Prevention is the ticket, especially for pediatric patients in our practice. We advise patients on how to avoid cavities and give them these tools to put the odds in their favor. SDF and sealant treatments are key components of our preventive programming — it’s in our blood. These treatments provide patients with more choices when it comes to their treatment options and give more power to parents over their children’s oral health. For some of my patients, their diet isn’t the best or sometimes both parents work long hours and kids don't get supervised while brushing their teeth. Instances like those are exactly why sealants are important — it enables us to protect a kid’s baby teeth.
Campbell: Preventive care is near and dear to my heart because my father was an early advocate for preventive dentistry and adding fluoride in the water in Tennessee. We follow in his footsteps by incorporating preventive treatments, such as SDF and sealants, into our care plan. I also think that people don’t always think of using SDF because they are cautious of the potential staining. It really can slow down tooth decay and has helped prevent some of my very young patients from losing a tooth. I incorporate these treatments whenever I see an opportunity to prevent decay.
What’s the best part about providing care to TennCare enrollees?
Caldwell: I love that I have the opportunity to be the educator as well as the fix-it man for the mouth. I enjoy it when patients who need help come to us and I can fix them, help their pain and educate them on how to avoid certain issues going forward. I’m the kind of practitioner that wants to be there not just when they are hurting, but to offer preventive care as well.
Campbell: The wonderful thing about TennCare is that I get to impact people starting from 1-year-olds all the way through patients’ formative years. And because parents or grandparents are the ones bringing these kids to their appointments, I have the opportunity to heal and educate across generations. I love medicine and being a dentist allows me to be a healer to those who need it most.