To evaluate characteristics of pregnant women served through the University of North Carolina’s (UNC) prenatal oral health program (pOHP) dental clinic and community healthcare pathways to inform efforts in promoting prenatal oral health policies.
The pOHP provides medical and dental students and practitioners with interprofessional experiences caring for pregnant women. A retrospective chart audit captured 314 pregnant women who made appointments over 33 months. Descriptive statistics and bivariate comparisons were computed to assess factors associated with dental appointment attendance and treatment completion.
There were 564 pregnant women, with mean age of 29 years and gestation of 25 weeks, referred to the pOHP dental clinic from UNC OB‐GYN and 20 community sites. Only 56% (N = 314) scheduled an appointment. Of the 314 appointed women, 55% (N = 172) attended at least one appointment. The majority (87%) presented with acute and/or complex treatment needs. Medicaid status was positively associated with appointment attendance (P = 0.001). Less than half (42%) of the women completed treatment prior to delivery. Mean maternal age, gestational age, and weeks to estimated date of delivery (EDD) were not significantly associated with completed treatment.
This study provides descriptive evidence of an academic, interprofessional program’s ability to provide safety‐net dental care to pregnant women in the state of North Carolina. Results underscore the need for dental services among pregnant women, signaling for promotion of prenatal oral health clinical standards and informing policy on the state and national levels to maximize dental coverage.