Background. The authors examined and compared dental services used by women before, during and after pregnancy. Methods. In their study, the authors combined medical and dental claims data for 3,462 pregnant women in Minnesota with commercial dental insurance who had been pregnant between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2005. The authors used McNemar pairwise comparisons, with each subject serving as her own control and her use of various dental services before pregnancy as her own baseline, to evaluate and compare the dental services used during and after pregnancy. Results. During pregnancy, subjects' use of several dental services - radiographs, restorative services, third-molar extractions and anesthesia - decreased significantly (P < .001) in comparison with their prepregnancy use. After pregnancy, subjects' use of checkups, radiographs and restorative services showed significant increases (P < .001). Conclusions. The significant decreases in use of these services during pregnancy and significant increases after pregnancy may suggest that these women and their dentists were using these services only conservatively during pregnancy or postponing their use altogether until after delivery. Clinical Implications. This study's findings may provide useful background information to medical and dental providers, health care plan administrators and policymakers as they consider recommendations regarding oral health care for women during pregnancy.
- Dental service use
- Oral health care during pregnancy