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Pediatr Dent. 2012 May-Jun;34(3):220-5.

Practice patterns of general dentists treating children in Kentucky: implications for access to care.

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  • 1College of Dentistry, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of general dentists on access to care for children in Kentucky by assessing the extent to which they provide care for children.


A 41-question survey was mailed to all 1,774 general dentists practicing in Kentucky. It had 6 sections: (1) demographic data; (2) dental school education; (3) knowledge of national guidelines for the age 1 visit; (4) treatment of children; (5) clinical practices and desirability of additional education; and (6) participation in public insurance.


The response rate was 33%, with a final sample size of 486. Ninety-four percent of respondents reported treating children younger than 12-years-old; however, 74% of children treated were between the ages of 7 and 14, with only 11% being younger than 3 years old. Children 3-years-old and younger and those on public insurance were represented in low numbers.


While most general dentists reported treating children, few provided care for children 3-years-old or younger. Also, general dentists did not treat children with extensive numbers of carious lesions, and rarely performed pediatric restorative procedures such as pulpotomies and stainless steel crowns.

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