Md. dentists train physicians and nurses

Across the state of Maryland, physicians and nurses are now freshly trained in pediatric dental healthcare.

More than 400 physicians and nurse practitioners who participate in the Maryland Medicaid Program -- dubbed Maryland's Mouths Matter: Fluoride Varnish and Oral Health Screening Program for Kids -- have received training in infant and toddler dental healthcare through a program run by the University of Maryland Dental School. The program began July 1 and covers children who are Medicaid recipients, ages 9 to 36 months, during their Medicaid scheduled well-child visits.

The training and Medicaid certification will directly lead to more young children being referred to dentists and introduced early in life to oral healthcare, said Norman Tinanoff, D.D.S., M.S., a professor and program director of the department of pediatric dentistry at the University of Maryland Dental School, in a press release.

The training allows the physicians and nurse practitioners to be certified by Medicaid, then reimbursed for providing fluoride varnish treatments after conducting oral health assessments for young children and toddlers. They can also provide oral health screenings, risk assessments, and oral health guidance for parents or legal custodians.

The Office of Oral Health, part of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is funding the program in partnership with the Maryland chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The health department has contracted with the dental school to administer the program statewide.

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