287 Assessment of Pediatric Dental Practice Websites in the United States

Thursday, March 22, 2012: 2 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Presentation Type: Poster Session
S.H. NAINAR, Division of Pediatric Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Objectives: To evaluate contents and characteristics of select pediatric dental practice websites from ten of the largest cities (Census 2000) across the United States. 

Methods: The following cities were selected: New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Seattle.  The highest ranked 15 pediatric dental practice websites from each city were selected using the search term “pediatric dentist” followed by the city name in the Google Internet search engine.  Each website was assessed by a single examiner using a 26-item evaluation instrument.  Data collection was undertaken between February and June, 2010. 

Results: Based on Google search, 141 pediatric dental practice websites were selected with three cities (Miami, Phoenix and, Seattle) showing less than 15 websites in their search listings.  Most websites showed pediatric dentist credentials (92%) and experience (60%) along with photograph (79%).  Information geared towards prospective patients included directions/map to the practice location (92%), photographs/videos of the practice (67%), first visit page (68%), and new patient forms for viewing/download (62%).  Dental health information was provided by many websites (92%) and select topics included dental home/infant oral health (81%), sealants (71%), fluorides (64%), and mouth guards (58%).  Majority of the websites (58%) provided links to the websites of the American Dental Association/American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry while few provide links to health care information websites (22%).  Communication tools provided included web forms for universal access (44%) and log-in for existing patients (15%). 

Conclusions: Pediatric dental practice websites from across the United States primarily target prospective patients while also serving as an online source of dental health information.

Keywords: Computers, Pedodontics and Technology