Dental Hygiene ETDs

Publication Date



Purpose: The aim of the study was to identify the Director of Nursing Homes (DONs) perception of oral care in New Mexico's Medicaid/ Medicare certified facilities on training, assessment and utilization of a dental hygienists as an adjunct nursing home staff member. Methods: Via convenience sample,73 DONs were sent an e-mailed survey. Results: With a 23% return rate, statistical analysis indicates a mean of .063, confidence interval (CI) of -.164 to .257, with an average p-value of .32. These findings indicate an indifference of opinions towards or against specific dental care and fail to reject the null hypothesis. 88.24% of subjects believe that residents need dental care. The majority believe the Minimum Data Set (MDS) is useful in identifying residents' oral care needs. Subjects reported that yearly 82.35% of residents receive dental exams by a dentist and 70.59% receive dental cleanings. The majority explained they would not hire a dental hygienist as a staff member, unless funding was present to do so. Almost 67% indicated that improvement in daily oral health care for residents is needed along with staff training, restorative and preventative dental care for residents. Conclusion: The DONs in New Mexico perceive oral care as an important health component for nursing residents. The MDS oral assessment is believed to be beneficial but a professional dental provider is preferred for assessment of oral needs. At this time funding does not allow for a staffed dental hygienists in all facilities.

Degree Name

Dental Hygiene

Level of Degree


Department Name

Dental Medicine

First Advisor

Nathe, Christine

First Committee Member (Chair)

Tatlock, Charles

Second Committee Member

Fritz, Shelly




Director of Nursing Home (DON), Nursing Home, Geriatrics, Older Population, Minimum Data Set (MDS), Activity of Daily Living (ADL), Oral Care

Document Type