Improving Oral Health
in Rural Pennsylvania

COVID-19 Oral Health Resources

On June 3, the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued updated guidelines for dental offices.  Offices must consider the COVID-19 infection rates in their area as well as the availability of PPEs prior to treating patients.  CDC guidelines should also continue to be followed.

Staff at PORH will be using this section of our website to post updates on resources and information available to dental professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our partners at the Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health have also been compiling COVID-19 related information for oral health professionals.

As many in-person CE courses have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic, Pennsylvania’s Governor, Tom Wolf, has lifted the in-person CE requirements for dental professionals for the next renewal cycle.  Click here for more details.

The CDC hosted a webinar reviewing guidance for dental settings during the COVID-19 response.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines safety protocol for dental workers related to COVID-19.  The American Dental Hygienists’ Association provides interim return to work guidance for dental employees, particularly dental hygienists.

The American Dental Association (ADA) continues to update their guidance.  Further, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has issued guidance on telehealth services for dentists, FQHCs and RHCs.  The North Carolina Oral Health Collaborative released guidance on non-surgical caries management, aiming to limit aerosol production while addressing patient needs at this time.

Resources from the DentaQuest Partnership include webinars on timely topics such as infection control and teledentistry.  Dental providers may even be eligible to earn free CE credit.  Visit the DentaQuest Partnership Website for more details.

Medical Oral Expanded Care

The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and DentaQuest Partnership (formerly the DentaQuest Institute) began a partnership in 2016 to pilot the MORE Care (Medical, Oral Expanded Care) program within the state. The goal of this partnership was to find solutions to the oral health disparities that exist within rural communities. Oral health was introduced into rural primary care practices and dental referral networks were built.

Four years later, our formal participation in the collaborative has ended, however, we are still here to support your rural primary care practice in oral health integration!  Contact us today to learn more about integration of oral health into primary care practice, as well as ways that you can build dental referral networks in your community!

Oral Health Status of Low-income Children in Pennsylvania: A Rural/Urban Comparison

“The Oral Health Status of Low-income Children in Pennsylvania: A Rural/Urban Comparison” is a project that staff from the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health completed for the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.  This research explored and documented the scope of dental screening programs within the school system, quantify the number of school districts with school-based dental sealant programs, track dental referrals and outcomes, perform analysis on the dental workforce with a focus on those serving Medicaid and CHIP recipients, and review Medicaid claims data. All data collected were helped to form policy recommendations to be presented to the Pennsylvania General Assembly with the goal of supporting increased access to high-quality oral health services in rural areas in Pennsylvania, as well as improving the oral health status of Commonwealth residents. Learn more about this project by viewing the full report.