States are grappling with the lack of access to oral health care for their child populations. This study evaluated a unique administrative dataset collected by a hygienist in rural Missouri who started a new clinic and provided services to a two-county population under what is known as unsupervised practice. Results showed 82% of 2-8 year olds presenting at the clinic had no prior visits to other practicing dental providers, indicating the benefits of new oral health providers in an underserved area. School-aged children (ages 6-12 years) were significantly more likely than other age groups to have higher numbers of recall visits and therefore, subsequently to use prevention services of the unsupervised dental hygienist at the rural clinic. The results suggest that improved systematic collection of data from dental hygienists in public health settings is needed to provide evidence that may affect public oral health policies.


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Print ISSN
pp. 739-751
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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