New York University College of Dentistry, is partnering with Columbia University College of Dental Medicine to develop a pediatric dental residency program to focus on nonsurgical disease management of ECC.  A model will be tested that utilizes peer counseling and technology-assisted behavioral risk reduction strategies to provide New York children with a family-centered dental home for health promotion, thanks to a $967,000 subgrant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.  Community health workers will provide home visits bimonthly for one year while those with more advanced ECC will receive weekly visits during the first month. Additionally, community health workers will provide tailored telephone contacts and in-person meetings for additional support and reinforcement of behavioral goals.   The program is able to capitalize on a consortium of 15 existing pediatric dentistry residency programs in the NYC area to recruit children with ECC for home visitation by community health workers.  Participating residencies will also provide comprehensive oral health care to enrolled children with an emphasis on non-surgical disease management

The technology-assisted behavior risk reduction strategy will consist of a mobile table-based program where participants will plan and monitor oral health behaviors such as dietary practices and caries prevention interventions.  Dr. Amr Moursi, associate professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at NYUCD, explains “Together, parents and community health workers will use MySmileBuddy (MSB), a mobile tablet-based health technology, to plan, implement, and monitor positive oral health behaviors, including dietary control and use of fluorides, which can slow or arrest ECC’s progression.”

The My Smile Buddy technology was developed by a team at Columbia University under the direction of Dr. Burton Edelstein.The goal is to re-direct efforts away from expensive surgical treatment of ECC toward prevention and lower cost, nonsurgical treatment of the disease. Dr. Moursi adds that ,“This project has great potential to advance preventive and minimally invasive interventions that are consistent with American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines.”  Although Dr. Moursi heads the NYUCD portion of the grant, the larger $4million grant awarded to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine was awarded to principal investigator Dr. Burton Edelstein, professor of dentistry and health policy.


MySmileBuddy is now in the field with community health workers in New York City and is being modified into an iPhone app for less intensive standalone use. Licensure considerations are being explored. Those interested in using the technology should contact:

Burton L. Edelstein DDS MPH

Professor of Dental Medicine and Health Policy & Management at Columbia University Medical Center

Chair, Section of Population Oral Health, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

T: 212 342 3505; C: 202 905 4498; E:

630 West 168th Street PH17-306, New York, NY 10032


Founding Chair Emeritus and Senior Fellow in Public Policy

Children’s Dental Health Project

1020 19th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20036