Association‌ of‌ State‌ &‌ Territorial‌ Dental‌ Directors
3858‌ Cashill Blvd.,‌ Reno,‌ NV‌ ‌89509
Phone‌ 775-626-5008‌‌

Best Practices Definitions & Criteria


1.  Best Practice:

The ASTDD Best Practices Project defines "best practice" as a service, function, or process that has been fine-tuned, improved and implemented to produce superior results that demonstrate impact/effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and collaboration/integration.

A best practice can be a service, function or process that a state/territorial/community oral health program leads, administers, partners, facilitates and/or supports through collaboration with national, state and local stakeholders.

2.  Best Practice Approach:

The ASTDD Best Practices Project defines a “best practice approach” as an underlying public health strategy that is supported by evidence for its impact or effectiveness (based on research, expert opinion, field lessons and theoretical rationale) and has different successful implementation methods.

For each best practice approach, the ASTDD Best Practices Committee has proposed initial review standards for five best practice criteria: (1) impact/effectiveness, (2) efficiency, (3) demonstrated sustainability, (4) collaboration/integration, and (5) objectives/rationale.

3.  Dental Public Health:

Dental Public Health is the science and art of preventing oral disease, promoting oral health and improving the quality of life through the organized efforts of society.

Dental Public Health is that branch and specialty of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and control of dental diseases and the promotion of oral health through organized community efforts. Dental Public Health serves the community as the patient rather than an individual, through research, health promotion, education and group dental care programs.

Best Practice Criteria

The ASTDD Best Practices Project uses five criteria to help identify best practices in dental public health and gain a deeper understanding of the practices. The criteria are:

  1. Impact/Effectiveness
    Impact/Effectiveness The practice has demonstrated impact, applicability, and benefits to the oral health care and well-being of certain populations or communities with reference to scientific evidence and/or documented outcomes of the practice.

  2. Efficiency
    The practice has demonstrated cost and resource efficiency where expenses are appropriate to benefits. This includes staffing and time requirements that are realistic and reasonable.

  3. Demonstrated Sustainability
    The practice shows sustainable benefits and/or is sustainable within populations/communities and between states/territories.

  4. Collaboration/Integration
    The practice builds effective partnerships among various organizations and integrates oral health with other health projects and issues.

  5. Objectives/Rationale
    The practice addresses Healthy People 2010 objectives, responds to the Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health, and/or builds basic infrastructure and capacity for state/territorial/community oral health programs.

When adapting ideas from best practices, the ASTDD Best Practices Committee recommends that each end-user consider these five criteria. Beyond these criteria, the Best Practices Committee also encourages end-users to consider an "X-Factor" when assessing best practices. The "X-Factor" should include variables related to leadership, political acceptability, available resources, feasibility and implementation that are specific to each end-user's program and environment, which will influence the acceptability/adaptability of the best practices.