Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Provision of Pediatric Dental Services by Pediatric Dentists Versus General Dentists: Secondary Dental Analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys.

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to determine whether visiting only a pediatric dentist (as opposed to visiting only a general dentist) was associated with the provision of preventive dental services for a U.S.-based pediatric population (those 18 years and younger). Methods: This study analyzed pooled Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data from 2018 and 2019 to compare the use of certain preventive dental services (i.e., examination, radiographs, prophylaxis, dental sealant, and fluoride treatment) among those who reported visiting a pediatric dentist versus those who visited a general dentist. Survey procedures were used in Stata 14.0 to perform multivariable logistic regression analyses. Results: Controlling for demographic and insurance variables, children who visited only pediatric dentists had statistically significantly greater odds of receiving radiographs (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] equals 1.22; 95 percent confidence interval [95% CI] equals 1.01 to 1.48; P=0.04), fluoride treatment (AOR equals 1.57; 95% CI equals 1.30 to 1.90; P≤0.001), and sealants (AOR equals 1.63; 95% CI equals 1.24 to 2.16; P=0.001) compared to children who visited only general dentists. There was no statistically significant difference in the provision of periodic examinations and prophylaxis services. Conclusion: Based on the nationally representative data evaluated, pediatric dentists are more likely to provide more optimal preventive services than general dentists (i.e., radiographs, fluoride treatments, and sealants) to children in the United States.

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