90 million claims tell a preventive care story

We know you share our dedication to good oral health, and even with our combined best intentions, the results of our recent Preventive Dental Care Study showed that many higher-risk patients are not visiting their dentist often enough for preventive care.

The study

With data from more than 90 million Delta Dental claims, we identified higher-risk children1 and adults who did not receive recommended preventive care.2

The findings


  • More than a third, ages 6 to 18, are at higher risk for future tooth decay, as measured by a recent history of decay. And, of these:
    • 80%, ages 11 to 15, did not receive sealants on second molars
    • 70% did not receive two fluoride treatments a year
    • 60%, ages 6 to 9, did not receive sealants on their first molars


  • 50% of adults with periodontal disease received the recommended two or more cleanings or periodontal maintenance procedures per year, even though our benefits plans cover these procedures
  • 25% of adults at higher risk for tooth decay did not receive an annual dental examination

Encouraging preventive care

Along with other Delta Dental member companies throughout the country, we’re developing a set of Oral Health Care Measures to help track the delivery of recommended preventive care for those at risk for oral disease. And, we are developing new messages to encourage enrollees to move out of high-risk territory and into a dental disease-free state by visiting their dentist regularly and using their preventive care benefits.

1 According to the American Dental Association, children at higher risk for tooth decay, which includes any child with recent fillings, should receive at least two fluoride treatments per year, along with sealants on their first and second permanent molars.

2 Professionally applied topical fluoride: Evidence-based clinical recommendations. American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. JADA, Vol. 137. August 2006, jada.ada.org/cgi/reprint/137/8/1151, and Evidence-based clinical recommendations for the use of pit-and-fissure sealants. A report of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. JADA, Vol. 139. March 2008. jada. ada.org/cgi/reprint/139/3/257.

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