Disease Management of Early Childhood Caries: Results of a Pilot Quality Improvement Project


Objectives. The purpose is to report findings of a quality improvement (QI) project implemented at two hospital-based dental clinics that care for children with early childhood caries (ECC). Methods. We tested a disease management (DM) approach in children younger than age 60 months with ECC. Results. After 30 months, for the 403 and 234 DM patients at Children’s Hospital Boston (CHB) and Saint Joseph Hospital (SJH) who returned for at least two visits, rates of new cavitation, pain, and referrals to the OR were 26.1, 13.4 and 10.9% for CHB and 41.0, 7.3 and 14.9% for SJH. Rates of new cavitation, pain, and referrals to the OR for historical controls were 75.2, 21.7, and 20.9% for CHB and 71.3, 31.3, and 25.0% for SJH. Conclusions. A risk-based DM approach utilizing QI strategies to address ECC can be implemented into practice and has the potential to improve care and health outcomes.