An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure ~ LA Care Awards $35,000 Grant to Lanterman for Preventive Dental Health Program in Adult Clients

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – meaning it is far better to keep something bad from happening than it is to treat it after it has happened.

“Many of the adult clients served by Lanterman that live independently,” explains Lanterman Dental Coordinator Leticia Reyes, RDH, “did not receive the necessary preventive dental care due to their inability to access care. This was compounded by the lapse in Denti-Cal, so by the time they sought care, they often required extensive dental work.”

In response to a grant opportunity made available through LA Care, Lanterman was awarded $35,000 to trial a two-year preventive program. About 60 adult clients will be seen in their own homes by a registered dental hygienist in alternative practice (RDHAP) to support them to maintain all of the dental work – filling, crowns, periodontal treatment – that had been previously provided. In addition to funding for the services of two hygienists, the grant also covers the dental products and supplies being used.

“We know that prevention works, and the cost of prevention is a lot less than the cost of restoration,” adds Reyes.

As part of measuring the success of this program, an oral health assessment tool was developed. All participants were seen the end of last year for an initial assessment and evaluation and rated using a numbered scale. Clients received their first cleaning in January, and will be seen every four to five month over the next two years by a hygienist for periodontal maintenance. They will also see their dentist at the end of the first and second years and will be re-scored on the assessment tool at the end of the second year.

“We know that clients living independently are harder to provide care for and to monitor. It will be interesting to see if by bringing the care to the clients in their own homes if this is the piece of the equation that is missing in terms of successful preventive dental care,” shares Reyes.