Pregnancy is a specific time in a woman’s life filled with complex changes in health, including the oral cavity. During this time, dental and perinatal care teams can be influential in helping women initiate and maintain essential habits to improve health and prevent adverse outcomes. There is research evidence that dental providers are reluctant to treat dental problems during pregnancy. Barriers to practice identified by dentists include lack of education, time, financial constraints, and concern for the safety treating pregnant women. Factors that facilitate dental care for pregnant women include purposeful assessment, referrals from prenatal providers, and continuing education for dental team members.
Multiple organizations recommend the treatment of oral health conditions during pregnancy to promote health and prevent pregnancy complications. In order to promote community-based partnerships in a healthcare system, dentists are encouraged to develop an intentional plan to increase collaboration with other members of the women’s healthcare team. Prior to developing a system wide intervention to improve access to dental care during pregnancy, dental team members were surveyed to identify barriers and facilitators which promote or hinder care in their practice. The data acquired will be used to inform the design and implementation of an intervention to specifically meet the needs of patients and providers in that system.