Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

New York University College of Dentistry

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

April 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

June 1, 2009 – May 31, 2010

In mid-2009, a significant proportion of Columbia County’s children in the Capital Region were at high risk for oral disease due to a number of factors, including poverty; lack of water fluoridation; cultural and environmental issues; diet; and limited oral hygiene education.

Access to dental care providers also played an important role in increasing risk; no private dentists within the county accepted Medicaid, despite 750 children relying on it for their medical care. In the city of Hudson alone, there were no pediatric dentists, and the planned discontinuation of Columbia County Memorial Hospital’s dental services program further lessened access to care. As a major provider of dental services to New York State’s Medicaid population, New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) decided to intervene and initiated the Columbia County Oral Health Intervention Program. The program intended to reduce dental caries in approximately 1,500 children from kindergarten through sixth grade by 95% over a three-year period.

In April 2009, the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) awarded NYUCD a one-year grant, which was eventually extended to two years, to cover the start-up costs of the program. NYUCD supplied the requisite dental supplies, equipment, clinical resources, and administration, while its faculty, postgraduate pediatric dentistry residents, and graduating dental and dental hygiene students served patients.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Between December 2009 and June 2012, a total of 568 children were seen at least one time during the 11 School-Based Health Center Dental program (SBHC-D) visits conducted by NYUCD. These children received a total of 2,658 oral health assessments, resulting in 3,681 total patient visits. Patients saw the dentist an average of 4.7 times during this time frame. Total procedures included 1,829 sealants, 738 fillings, 164 extractions, 129 radiographs, and 38 stainless steel crowns.
  • Initial caries prevalence in September 2010 was 25.7%, while only 10% of children had new caries at the fourth NYUCD visit of that year. While the reduction is a sign of success in preventing new decay, it suggests that new patients presenting at the second, third, or fourth NYUCD visits may have skewed the results.
  • Caries prevalence was 58.8% among five-year-olds at their first visit in February 2010. Of the same children presenting in June 2011, the incidence of new decay was zero. This suggests that decay was prevented in the newly erupted first permanent molars.
  • NYUCD was unable to collect any reliable measures of lost school days due to oral disease. Anecdotally, school nurses, teachers, and parents reported better overall health and attendance for children who visited the SBHC-D regularly.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A