OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the relationship between having an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) and the timing of the first dental visit for children who were newly enrolled in Medicaid in Iowa.
METHODS: We identified children aged 3 to 8 years with and without IDD who were newly enrolled in the Iowa Medicaid program in 2005 (N = 5391). We gathered data on presence of IDD, health status, age at baseline, gender, length of Medicaid enrollment, medical care visits, household Medicaid enrollment, urbanization, residence in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), and time of first dental visit through 2007.
RESULTS: About 32% of children had a first dental visit within 6 months of enrollment; this proportion increased to 49%, 64%, and 74% by years 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In the unadjusted models, there was no significant difference between children with and without IDD in time to first dental visit (P = .22). After adjusting for model covariates, however, children with IDD were 31% more likely to have a delayed first dental visit (P = .04).
CONCLUSIONS: Newly Medicaid-enrolled children aged 3 to 8 years with IDD in Iowa were significantly more likely to have a later first dental visit. Future interventions should focus on ensuring timely access to first dental visits for all Medicaid-enrolled children, with an emphasis on those with IDD.