Family Access to a Dentist Study (FADS): A multi-center randomized controlled trial

Academic Article


  • Introduction: Many low-income parent/caregivers do not understand the importance of cavity-free primary (baby) teeth and the chronic nature of dental caries (tooth decay). As a consequence, dental preventive and treatment utilization is low even when children are screened in schools and referred for care. This study aims to test a referral letter and Dental Information Guide (DIG) designed using the Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation (CSM) framework to improve caregivers' illness perception of dental caries and increase utilization of care by children with restorative dental needs. Methods: A multi-site randomized controlled trial with caregivers of Kindergarten to 4th grade children in urban Ohio and rural Washington State will compare five arms: (1) CSM referral letter alone; (2) CSM referral letter. +. DIG; (3) reduced CSM referral letter alone; (4) reduced CSM referral letter. +. DIG; and (5) standard (control) referral. At baseline, children will be screened at school to determine restorative dental needs. If in need of treatment, caregivers will be randomized to study arms and an intervention packet will be sent home. The primary outcome will be dental care based on a change in oral health status by clinical examination 7. months post-screening (ICDAS sealant codes 1 and 2; restoration codes 3-8; extraction). Enrollment commenced summer 2015 with results in summer 2016. Conclusion: This study uses the CSM framework to develop and test behavioral interventions to increase dental utilization among low-income caregivers. If effective this simple intervention has broad applicability in clinical and community-based settings.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 28269160
  • Author List

  • Nelson S; Riedy C; Albert JM; Lee W; Slusar MB; Curtan S; Ferretti G; Cunha-Cruz J; Milgrom P
  • Start Page

  • 177
  • End Page

  • 183
  • Volume

  • 45