Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | Assistance | Divisions | About DHHS | DHHS Contacts

NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home

Carolina Dental Home Program

Pediatricians and Dentists Working Together

Carolina Dental Home was a successful three-year pilot program (2007- 2010) in Craven, Jones, and Pamlico counties in which pediatricians and dentists partnered to provide a dental home for Medicaid-insured children from birth to 3 years old.  The goals of the program were:

  • Develop a priority oral health risk assessment and referral tool and guidelines for use
  • Stop tooth decay before it starts
  • Treat tooth decay early, before it affects the child’s health

During Carolina Dental Home, a team that included representative pediatricians and dentists developed a priority oral health risk assessment and referral tool (PORRT). The PORRT helped pediatricians determine when a child needed to be referred to a dentist based on risk for developing tooth decay. Carolina Dental Home was the pilot site for PORRT, which is now being tested statewide.

By using PORRT, local pediatricians were able to easily identify children (aged infant to 3 years old) who were at high risk for tooth decay during well-child visits. Once identified, the child was referred to a dentist for an exam. If treatment was needed, the dentist provided the care or referred the child to a pediatric dentist for specialized care. The pediatrician and dentist worked together as a team to prevent and/or reduce dental decay in the young child.

The NC Oral Health Section, partnering with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, designed this pilot program to improve access to dental care for young children. The objective of the Carolina Dental Home Program was to identify best practices for preventing and treating tooth decay in young children.  This pilot program was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

For additional information, please contact Kelly Close with the N.C. Oral Health Section at or 919-707-5485.