Northeast Delta Dental was one of five Delta Dental member companies that showed the best performances in the 2021 Delta Dental Oral Healthcare Measures Study. This is Delta Dental’s longest running oral health study, now in its twelfth year.
This study gives member companies the ability to identify trends in oral health delivery and follow at-risk populations. It establishes benchmarks for assessing risk-based wellness and disease management initiatives and provides a way to compare the performance of member companies against the national benchmark average.
One facet of the study identifies the percentage of high-risk members ages one through 18 getting at least two or more fluoride treatments. Northeast Delta Dental (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) had 44.48% of enrollees at high risk for dental caries getting two or more fluoride treatments against a national percentage of 35.12%. While benefit design isn’t the only solution to patients who need fluoride treatments getting them, it’s an important one. Member companies covering only one fluoride treatment per year fall well below the national benchmark.
Our Health through Oral Wellness Program® (HOW®) identifies those patients most at risk for dental diseases through an oral health assessment. Those who qualify for additional benefits receive them at no additional cost. HOW® participants are entitled to receive a combination of up to four fluoride treatments per 12-month period or per calendar year, with no age restrictions.
Dental sealants are another weapon in the arsenal of dental professionals to protect teeth from tooth decay and cavities but are not always applied despite being covered by Delta Dental insurance plans. The study shows that 45.81% of children at elevated risk received at least one sealant on a permanent first molar by age 10. The HOW® program encourages the use of sealants for patients most at risk, and program participants are entitled to receive sealants with no age restrictions for unrestored primary molars and unrestored permanent bicuspids and molars.
Northeast Delta Dental is committed to sharing information about the links between oral health and overall health and wellness to all of our stakeholders and the public. For instance, many parents don’t know that the application of fluoride treatment and sealants can be extremely beneficial for at-risk children. We encourage the use of fluoride treatment and sealants through our plan designs, but we also help make those treatments available to children who are uninsured. The Northeast Delta Dental Foundation awards grants each year to many community-based oral health programs providing fluoride treatment and sealants to children, hoping that their futures will be filled with healthy smiles!