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Introducing Diabetes Screening and Monitoring in the Dental Office

  • By: NYSHealth
  • Date: March 2017
  • Priority Area: Diabetes Prevention and Management
  • Type: Grant Outcome Reports
  • Category: Grant Outcome Report
  • Grantee Name: Trustees of Columbia University, dba Columbia University


Diabetes management requires patient adherence and ongoing monitoring by primary and specialty care teams, including dentists. Studies have shown that point-of-care testing for diabetes in the dental setting can identify patients with previously undiagnosed prediabetes or diabetes. NYSHealth has previously funded research to develop algorithms for dental professionals to screen for diabetes or prediabetes. In 2014, NYSHealth awarded Columbia University a grant to further develop the role and rationale of diabetes screening in dental offices; identify barriers to screening; and provide recommendations for policymakers.

Grantee: Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York / Columbia University

Dates: September 2014 – August 2015

Grant Amount: $36,783

Grantee Website:

Grant ID:  14-03124

Outcomes and Lessons Learned:

  • Conducted a survey of dentists in New York State to determine the level of knowledge about diabetes and willingness to assume additional clinical responsibilities related to screening and management (of which 59% of respondents felt that point-of-care testing for diabetes was within the scope of dental practice and 18% were undecided);
  • Offered a continuing education course about diabetes management in the dental office to oral health care providers; and
  • Published a policy brief, “Diabetes Screening and Monitoring in the Dental Office.”

Following the policy brief, Columbia University discussed the feasibility of introducing diabetes screening in dental offices with two primary stakeholders, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA). The organizations could not come to a consensus on whether diabetes screening is within the scope of dental practice and offered different recommendations. NYSED concluded that testing for diabetes and prediabetes in the dental office was not within scope of practice, although the testing and counseling for other health issues, such as HIV and smoking, are included. However, NYSDA strongly supports diabetes and prediabetes screening in the dental setting as a way for dentists to have a complete medical history of patients and properly undertake dental diagnosis and treatment. Columbia University modified its strategy in light of these differing opinions, focusing instead on highlighting the screening’s significance to oral health care providers through peer-reviewed publications and clinical presentations. Since this grant was awarded, Columbia University has published two manuscripts on the topic, and two more are under review. Columbia University also is in discussions with the National Academy of Sciences to prepare a white paper on the integration of oral and general health.

Co-Funding and Additional Funds Leveraged: N/A