Factors associated with receiving treatment for dental decay among Medicaid-enrolled children younger than 12 years of age in Iowa, 2010

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Abstract

Objectives:

The Iowa Department of Public Health I-Smile program provides dental screening and care coordination to over 23,000 low-income and Medicaid-enrolled children per year. The purposes of this study were to evaluate I-Smile program effectiveness to ensure that Medicaid-enrolled children obtained dental treatment after having been screened and to determine the factors associated with failure to receive dental care after screening through the I-Smile program.

Methods:

Based on I-Smile program priorities, we limited our sample to children younger than 12 years of age who screened positive for decay and who linked to a paid Medicaid claim for dental treatment (n = 1,816). We conducted bivariate analyses to examine associations between children's characteristics who screened positive for decay and received treatment within 6 months of their initial screening. We also performed multivariate logistic regression to assess the association of sociodemographic characteristics with receipt of treatment among children who screened positive for decay.

Results:

Eleven percent of children screened positive for decay. Nearly 24 percent of children with decay received treatment based on a Medicaid-paid claim. Being 5 years or older [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.48, confidence interval (CI): 1.17, 1.88] and not having a dental home (aOR: 1.90, CI: 1.41, 2.58) were associated with higher odds of not receiving dental treatment.

Conclusions:

Children 5 years and older and without a dental home were less likely to obtain dental treatment. Opportunities exist for the I-Smile program to increase the numbers of at-risk children with dental homes and who obtain dental care after screening.

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