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Study finds dentists in research network do not discriminate

Regardless of race, private practice dentists do not discriminate in services they provide their patients, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University's School of Dental Medicine.

The report is among findings from nine research projects and one public policy statement that Case's dental faculty and students will present during the annual meeting of the American Association of Dental Research and the American Dental Education Association in Orlando, Fla., March 8-11 based on research being done with practicing dentists of the Ohio Dental Practice Based Research Network.

The findings are from the first analyses of observational data from a major study, funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, to discover what happens in dental practices and how private practice dentists and dental hygienists counsel patients in ways to prevent dental diseases.

Other dental schools working with similar networks are New York University, the University of Washington (Seattle) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Dentists, who primarily work in isolation from each other, receive little or no feedback from their peers.

One aspect of this study provides information to help dentists see how their individual practices compare to other dental professionals in the study.

Examining information gathered through observations, patient charts and insurance billings, Case researchers confirm that the people visiting private dentists are generally middle class and have attained some higher education.

In the study, more African Americans have dental insurance, but all dental patients end up paying "out of the pocket" for approximately 50 percent of the dental costs, according to Dr. Stephen Wotman, Case professor of dentistry and the lead investigator on $2.5 million study. Approximately 8% of the patients from Ohio Dental Practice Research Netwo
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
8-Mar-2006


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