Incorporating trauma-informed care into dental practice

Incorporating trauma-informed care into dental practice

Christian Villanueva

DNP focus area: Advanced Population Health Nursing


Problem: Urban Colleges of Dentistry (COD) are major provider of dental services for children covered by public aid insurance in Illinois. The Health & Medicine Policy Research Group and a Chicago COD leadership determined that oral health providers were unaware of the life experience children carry with them to their appointments, including high rates of poverty, trauma and adversity.

Objective: The purpose of the project was to support the delivery of a series of workshops designed to transform a College of Dentistry into a trauma-informed system.

Methods: Using the Diffusion of Innovations, two workshops led by experts on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were provided to dentist and dental students at a Chicago-based COD. In addition, in collaboration with the dental providers, a trauma-informed toolkit was developed and will be delivered to providers to help ease and facilitate implementation of sensitive care into practice.

Anticipated contribution to practice: Through dissemination of a trauma-informed toolkit, dental providers across Illinois will change and adapt their practice to better address the needs of patients and decrease the impact trauma has on patients’ health