Health Care District’s Dental Clinics Launch Medical Dental Integration (MDI) Program
The Health Care District of Palm Beach County's C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics launched the Medical Dental Integration (MDI) program at the Lantana Health Center on January 8, 2019. In the MDI model, a dental hygienist provides preventative dental services for children during their regular visit with the pediatrician. The MDI program is part of the Dental Clinics’ countywide effort to improve access to dental services for Palm Beach County infants and children. The goal of MDI is to combat the sobering national statistic that 20% of children under the age of five is suffering from tooth decay, which can lead to pain and infection.1
“We are fortunate to have such a valuable partnership. The dental hygienist is now an integral part of the pediatric medical team and has the unique opportunity to provide preventative dental services alongside the pediatrician,” said Tamara-Kay Tibby, DMD, MPH, Dental Director with the Health Care District’s C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics. “Our goal is to lower a child’s risk for future dental caries by promoting the age one dental visit, educating parents on the importance of regular dental check-ups and linking children to a dental home here at C. L. Brumback.”
Early childhood caries – decay in children under the age of six – is the most common chronic disease of childhood. It often affects low-income children who lack access to a dentist. Early childhood caries is a result of poor dental hygiene, bad snacking habits and consuming too much juice and other sugary drinks. By eating the right foods, brushing and flossing, and keeping regular dental appointments, children can easily prevent the pain and infection associated with dental caries.
Every day, the Brumback Clinics’ pediatric and dental teams work together to identify patients to take through the MDI process during the child’s wellness visit. With the help of a smiling yellow dog puppet named “Jackito” that serves as the Dental Clinics’ mascot, a dental hygienist demonstrates to the youngsters and their parents how to properly brush and floss and also teaches them what foods are part of a healthy diet. Parents are encouraged to clean their child’s mouth at the sign of the first tooth and to make annual dental appointments for their children to receive fluoride treatments up to six years of age.
“We have seen a rise in dental appointments and fluoride treatments for young children since the launch of the MDI program in January,” said Nancy Fox-Goughan RDH, MA and Dental Quality Coordinator with the Health Care District’s C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics. “We hope this effort will help prevent tooth decay in young children and teach them the steps to maintain a healthy smile well into adulthood.”
The C. L. Brumback Primary Care Clinics provide quality medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services to adults and children with or without insurance. The nine clinic sites throughout Palm Beach County, Florida, along with a mobile health clinic serving the homeless, are Federally Qualified Health Centers owned and operated by the Health Care District of Palm Beach County.
1 KFF Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, State Health Facts, Percent of Children (ages 1-17) with Oral Health Problems, 2016.