Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Dentistry

Copyright Statement

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.


College of Dental Medicine

First Advisor

Diane Ede-Nichols

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Low-income families are usually unable to afford the cost of orthodontic treatment. The Medicaid program exists to assist these families’ access to medical and dental care, including orthodontics in children and adolescents with severe malocclusions. There exists a contrast between need and care-received, which is a product of several general factors. This study will examine the factors involved with orthodontist participation. Previous studies have indicated that low reimbursement rates and excessive paperwork are among the reasons that providers choose not to participate in Medicaid. New studies have identified factors that were accurately able to predict if a dentist is a Medicaid participant. Specific Aims 1. Describe the prevalence of Medicaid participation among orthodontists in the state of Florida. 2. Examine the determinants of Medicaid participation among Florida orthodontists. Significance This study may encourage public health policy changes that benefit orthodontists, patients, and communities. Our study shows the unified opinion of Florida orthodontists that the Medicaid program has a significant administrative burden, including a low reimbursement rate. This points to potential solutions to increase program participation, namely increasing the reimbursement rate and streamlining the process for case approval. Innovation To our knowledge, previous studies have not identified factors that predict Medicaid participation among Florida’s orthodontists. Research Plan This study used a survey distributed by e-mail and conventional mail to a every actively practicing orthodontist in Florida. A lottery-entry was offered as an incentive to encourage study participation. The survey consisted of questions in four different categories: practitioner demographics, practice demographics, the Perceived Barriers Scale and the Social Responsibility Scale. Results Our study found that past Medicaid participation was the only significant determinant of current Medicaid participation. We found few associations between orthodontists’ Medicaid participation and their sense of social responsibility to provide for the needs of underprivileged and minority populations. Conclusion Our study shows the unified opinion of Florida orthodontists that the Medicaid program has a significant administrative burden. The finding that past Medicaid participation is a predictor of current participation may suggest that the utilization of Medicaid covered orthodontics may increase if orthodontists receive early exposure to Medicaid’s processes, criteria, and practice implications.




Barriers, Florida, Medicaid, Orthodontics, Participation



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