Assessing Perceived Risk of Dental Treatments for Pregnant Women on Medicaid
This exploratory study was designed to examine barriers to the provision of allowable dental care to pregnant patients on Medicaid in Connecticut. The study explored why, despite the known benefits and safety of prenatal dental care from first trimester on and professional guidelines for treatment during pregnancy, many dentist offices accepting Medicaid reimbursement do not provide pregnant women with the full range of allowable procedures. The study included analysis of the database of dental provides of Medicaid recipients in CT to explore patterns in provision of services to pregnant women based on riskiness of the practice. It also included a survey of staff in 17 private dentist offices regarding their perceptions of risk (based on a 4-point Likert scale of very risky to very safe) of 14 oral health procedures provided to women during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. The study was designed to identify barriers to specific treatments and to develop an intervention designed to improve low-income women’s access to dental services during pregnancy.