What Providers Can Do

Focus Area 1: Workforce

  • Use professional organizations to discuss workforce needs and strategies, and provide opportunities for open discussion within the community; seek consensus regarding workforce solutions.
  • Strengthen cultural competence through the use of learning opportunities provided by professional organizations.
  • Develop learning/discussion groups that focus on how best to meet the oral health needs in specific communities and reach consensus regarding the role of each provider type given current licensure regulations.
  • Discuss potential solutions to utilize all types of providers more effectively, especially in underserved areas.
  • Attend oral health training to become confident in the ability to promote age 1-year dental visits, perform oral health assessments, and apply fluoride varnish.
  • Use electronic medical and dental records and increase referrals to a dental home, especially for high-risk patients.

Focus Area 2: Infrastructure

  • Examine oral health data to help determine gaps in local oral health systems and programs.
  • Understand the Oral Health Standards for a Healthy Community and how they relate to the community.
  • Discuss infrastructure needs with policy makers at all levels.
  • Share data with other providers and organizations to form a more complete picture of the oral health status of the local community.
  • Become familiar with the Oral Health Standards for a Healthy Community.
  • Identify gaps in oral health coverage in the local community
  • Advocate for achieving standards through community coalitions, and discussions with policy makers and school organizations.
  • Actively participate in planning processes that affect health care and oral health in particular.
  • Become community “oral health champions.”
  • Disseminate information about the benefits of water fluoridation.
  • Educate parents on the benefits of water fluoridation and sealants.
  • Provide sealants (dental providers) or refer for sealants (medical providers) for children as first and second molars erupt.

Focus Area 3: Financing

  • Collect and provide data that shows the connection between oral health and chronic disease.
  • Provide anecdotal information regarding the impact of poor oral health care on adults in the community.
  • Provide policy makers with information regarding efficient, evidence-based oral health care for adults.
  • Clearly explain oral health benefits available to patients.
  • Help patients with children to understand the importance of oral health care and the benefits available to provide that care.

Focus Area 4: Systems of Care

  • Ensure that high-risk children receive optimal evidence-based care beginning at age 1-year or earlier.
  • Provide oral health services for pregnant women.
  • Provide restorative treatment for children who have received preventive oral health services within a school.
  • Ensure that older adults have oral health services and education available throughout their lifetimes.
  • Pursue Cavity Free at Three training.
  • Accommodate infant and toddler visits.
  • Provide parent/family education about the importance of an age 1-year dental visit.
  • Provide a diagnostic and preventive 1-year dental visit, using Smiles for Life or Cavity Free at Three guidelines.

Focus Area 5: Health Promotion

  • Include oral health questions on health intake/history forms.
  • Provide oral health screenings and apply fluoride varnish.
  • Join a community oral health coalition.
  • During well-baby and well-child checks, ask about a age 1-year dental visit and dental sealants for older children.
  • Make referrals and link to a dental home.
  • Educate patients regarding the association between oral health and chronic disease.
  • Include oral health questions on health intake/history forms.
  • Join a community oral health coalition.
  • Provide sound nutrition education during dental and medical visits.
  • Include oral health as a routine part of prenatal care.
  • Include oral health questions on health intake/history forms.
  • Join a community oral health coalition.
  • Educate parents and caregivers about the vertical transmission of oral disease.
  • Promote age 1-year oral health screenings.
  • Promote drinking fluoridated tap water instead of bottled water.
  • Include oral health questions on health intake/history forms.
  • Join a community oral health coalition.
  • Provide oral health education sessions at long-term care and nursing home facilities, and other community focal points.
  • Include fluoride varnish as a part of routine care for the prevention of root caries.
  • Be aware of the oral complications of prescription medications.
  • Participate in inter-professional team meetings.

Focus Area 6: Health Equity

  • Strategize with local groups and component dental societies to positively affect health equity issues.
  • Participate in school screenings to identify and refer those at risk for significant dental disease.
  • Make education and treatment visits to assisted living or long-term care facilities, and to community focal points serving older adults, especially those serving low-income, minority, and older adults living in rural areas.
  • Partner with local schools to assist with in-school screenings,  school-based/school linked oral health services and clinics.
  • Adopt a local school and provide oral health care both within the school and in your private practice.


Community Health Organization

An oral health or primary care professional responsible for delivering health care.