First, the Insurance-based Oral Health Demonstration Project has supported 21 programs with the following goals:
- Increase the use of available dental health benefits for preventative oral care in young children,
- Increase the ability of doctors and dentists to serve the oral health needs of young children, and
- Increase access to dental care for children in rural communities and other underserved areas.
Since 2004, the project has successfully established 19 demonstration projects with two dental health plans: Access Dental and Delta Dental. It has also established demonstration projects with the Health Plan of San Joaquin and the Santa Barbara County Health Authority.
These projects have been successful in reaching nearly 9,000 children during the first year.
Secondly, the Early Childhood Oral Health Education & Training Project is a four-year effort that began in February 2004. This project has two goals:
- To reach 75 percent of dental providers and 50 percent of primary care providers with education and training about early childhood oral health.
- To provide consumer education for parents, caregivers and others with information and resources so their children will get the dental care they need.
The project, called
First Smiles features a comprehensive Web site with information, resources and training for both parents and health care professionals. It includes free on-demand distance-learning courses for dental staff, a 5-minute video with basic dental care instructions for parents, presentation materials for health care professionals and a parent brochure available in 10 languages.
As of January 2006, First Smiles has reached 2,600 dental professionals; has visited over 1,300 physician offices and provided training to pediatricians, family practice physicians and obstetricians; there have been 53,000 visits to the First Smiles Web site and 730,000 copies of the brochure have been distributed to providers, subcontractors and First 5 County Commissions.