Dentistry, Oral Healthcare, Rural Healthcare, Patient-Provider Relationship


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Dr. Peter Wampler


The purpose of this prospective study will be to assess the patient-provider relationship in Arenac County, Michigan, analyze barriers to treatment for rural patients, and develop a meaningful plan to improve upon these categories. The intended outcomes of this study will be the development of a resource for rural oral healthcare providers to better understand and treat the needs of their patients based on knowledge from beyond the chairside, as well as the development of an easily repeatable model for patient-provider analysis. Furthermore, the questionnaires and data collected from this could assist in informing governmental or non-governmental organizations in identifying where gaps in treatments lie for rural communities. It was revealed from the provider questionnaire that the primary barriers to oral healthcare for this population are financial issues and a lack of providers. Several solutions were proposed ranging from incentivizing new practices in the region to mobile dental clinics, but the single most effective measure would be to improve patient oral healthcare education to reduce the risk of preventable dental disease.