Use of the dental electronic health record for research: Assessing demographic and oral health characteristics data for clinic patients

Sharon M. Gordon, Gerard A. Camargo, Gloria C. Mejia, James N. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Dental schools in the United States increasingly emphasize community-based practice targeting underserved populations. However, the impact on target populations remains largely undocumented. East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine (ECU SoDM) developed an integrated electronic health record database that aggregates patient data from all clinics in the ECU SoDM system and enables longitudinal assessment of the impact of clinical care on oral health outcomes. The aim of this study was to analyze the demographic and oral health characteristics data for eligible patients from June 2012 to March 2016. Data from 28,029 eligible patients were included. Except for expected variations in racial composition, the demographic data were similar across ECU SoDM clinics and indicated that the patient population represents a geographically diverse sample of outpatients. The mean decayed, missing, and filled teeth (DMFT) index was elevated in this population. Among the trends identified across subgroups were higher DMFT index in older patients and lower DMFT index for individuals of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. Although the percentage of patients with dental caries overall rose steadily with age, the percentage with untreated dental caries generally fluctuated around 33%±5% without age-related trends. These data provide a baseline for evaluating changes over time and the impact of oral health care introduced to areas served by the ECU SoDM. These findings highlight the need for access to care and support the ECU SoDM's core mission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1257
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dental Education
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2018


  • Access to care
  • Community health care
  • Community-based dental education
  • Dental education
  • Dental public health
  • Electronic health record
  • Epidemiology
  • Underserved patients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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