Dental Caries Management (DCM) Collaborative

Dental Caries Management (DCM) Collaborative


The current care model used to treat dental caries in patients six to twenty years of age relies almost exclusively on surgical interventions. However, restorative care alone does not address the underlying social, behavioral, microbiological, and physiological factors which play a major role in the etiology of the disease. Since dental caries usually continues to affect patients throughout life, the cost of managing the disease continues to increase as patients get older. In order to effectively prevent, manage and treat dental caries, a care model emphasizing chronic disease management needs to be tested and implemented in practice.

Dental Caries Management (DCM) Collaborative

The Dental Caries Management (DCM) Collaborative is a national quality improvement initiative focused on developing and testing a chronic disease management protocol for children and adolescents.

This collaborative brought together 15 teams from across the country for an 18-month Collaborative focused on practice improvement. Starting in March 2015, teams will gather for three meetings to learn and plan changes to test, and then return to their practices to test those changes in their clinical settings. They submit monthly data showing their progress, and they participate in regular conference calls and the online listserv to share what they have learned with other teams.

What are the teams doing?

Each team is working together to test, develop, and implement selected evidence-based and promising interventions to improve the dental health of their patients. They are re-designing their care delivery systems, such that every child and adolescent receives a caries risk assessment, and the patient or parent gets the opportunity to collaborate with the provider in preventing and managing the child’s disease and caries risk. Children and adolescents that are high or moderate risk return more frequently for caries risk assessments and to receive preventative care to improve their caries risk.

What is the value?

Participation in this collaborative gives sites the opportunity to:

  • Improve the patient experience and oral health
  • Create positive rapport with patients and their parents
  • Learn and apply process improvement skills to clinical practice
  • Build a system of measurement to support improvement of population health
  • Implement care processes that are customized to the unique needs of children and adolescents
  • Join a community of colleagues working towards a common aim, and lead the future of oral health care delivery

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