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Journal of Public Health Dentistry

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Few studies have directly compared dental procedures provided in public and private insurance plans for enrollees living in dental health professional shortage areas (DHPSAs). We examined the rates for the different types of dental procedures received by 0–18-year-old children living in DHPSAs and non-DHPSAs who were enrolled in Medicaid and those enrolled under Delta Dental of Wisconsin (DDW) for years 2002 to 2008.


Medicaid and DDW dental claims data for 2002 to 2008 was analyzed. Enrollees were divided into DDW-DHPSA and non-DHPSA and Medicaid-DHPSA and non-DHPSA groups. Descriptive and multivariable analyses using over-dispersed Poisson regression were performed to examine the effect of living in DHPSAs and insurance type in relation to the number of procedures received.


Approximately 49 and 65 percent of children living in non-DHPSAs that were enrolled in Medicaid and DDW received at least one preventive dental procedure annually, respectively. Children in DDW non-DHPSA group had 1.79 times as many preventive, 0.27 times fewer complex restorative and 0.51 times fewer endodontic procedures respectively, compared to those in Medicaid non-DHPSA group. Children enrolled in DDW-DHPSA group had 1.53 times as many preventive and 0.25 times fewer complex restorative procedures, compared to children in Medicaid-DHPSA group.


DDW enrollees had significantly higher utilization rates for preventive procedures than children in Medicaid. There were significant differences across Medicaid and DDW between non-DHPSA and DHPSA for most dental procedures received by enrollees.


Accepted version. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Vol. 77, No. 1 (Winter 2017): 86-92. DOI. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used with permission.

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