Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program
putting children across Washington on a lifelong path to good oral health.
CHOICE is working to improve access to oral health care for the many communities across our region. We work with families to schedule dental appointments, and we support providers to meet the needs of the community.
We have also worked with over 200 oral health care providers on trainings for children, trauma-informed practices, safe opioid prescribing practices, treating patients with chronic disease, and meeting the needs of pregnant patients.
What is the ABCD program?
Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) puts young children across Washington State on a lifelong path to good oral health. ABCD connects families with providers who know how to care for young children, focusing on prevention and avoiding tooth decay, as well as educating parents about how to take good care of their children’s teeth.
CHOICE serves as the coordinator for the ABCD program in Thurston and Lewis counties.
Information for families
To ensure your children have healthy teeth and mouths for a lifetime, they should have an oral health checkup by a dentist or physician by the time their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. Regular dental care is important because good oral health is essential to the health of our whole bodies.
Is my child eligible?
Children from birth up to age six who are insured by Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) are eligible to participate in ABCD. Beginning January 2022, the program has been expanded to include children with a Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) indicator through age twelve.
Apply for or renew yours, or your child’s Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage online through Washington Healthplanfinder or call 1-855-923-4633.
How do I find an ABCD dental provider?
Simply call the ABCD Coordinator line at (360) 539-7576 ext.103 and we will help find an ABCD dentist’s office close to you that will suit your family’s needs.
Information for dental providers
Participating ABCD dentists contribute to the health and well-being of their young patients and the larger community. Since 1995, ABCD has trained more than 2,000 dentists, dental students, and pediatric dental residents to care for the oral health of young children using the University of Washington-developed ABCD curriculum.
Participating providers receive enhanced fees through Medicaid for providing certain preventive and restorative procedures.
How do I become an ABCD provider?
To become ABCD certified, you must be or become a Medicaid provider and participate in ABCD training delivered by the University of Washington’s School of Dentistry. This multi-phased training is free, is just a few hours in length, and can be delivered in your own practice setting or through an online training forum. Following training, you will be issued an ABCD certification, making you eligible to receive Medicaid’s enhanced fees.
Phase 1: focuses on oral health for infants and toddlers and early pediatric dental techniques. Training includes didactic material as well as hands-on training with young children. Providers can earn up to three free continuing education credits.
Phase 2: focuses on use of the Interim Therapeutic Restoration (ITR) technique and providers can earn up to 1.5 continuing education credits.
Phase 3 (ABCD expansion): focuses on practice considerations for children with special healthcare needs through age 12 and dentists can earn one continuing education credit.
Dental champion spotlight:
Dr. Maureen Callender (Craig)
Maureen Callender, DDS, is an ABCD provider and dental champion serving Thurston and Lewis Counties. Dr. Callender helps kids become more comfortable and confident in the dental office and enjoys building lasting relationships with families. She works closely with her local ABCD Coordinator to make sure the community’s needs are met and along with her colleagues at Small to Tall, is one of only a few pediatric dentists who provide specialty services to ABCD children in the South Sound.
Sheena Johnson, Oral health program manager
Phone: 360-539-7576 ext. 103
Sheena Johnson, the ABCD Coordinator (Thurston/Lewis) enrolls eligible Apple Health covered children into the ABCD Program and ensures clients are connected to participating dentist. Families are supported throughout their enrollment to include assistance in overcoming barriers to accessing care, provided with oral health education, and taught what to expect during their dental visit.
She is an active participant in two early learning/childhood coalitions and works with the Thurston and Lewis county communities to increase awareness of the importance of good oral health in early childhood.