What determines utilization of dental care services? The case of Iran

Document Type: Original Article(s)


1 Associate Professor, Department of Health Management, Policy, and Economics, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran

3 Professor, Endodontology Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Modeling in Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

5 Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management, Policy and Economics, School of Management and Medical Informatics, Kerman University of Medical Sciences Kerman, Iran


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Identifying the factors affecting utilization of dental services is one of the best ways to improve the health status. This study aimed to investigate the effective factors on utilization of dental services.METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, 1185 household heads were selected randomly, and using a researcher-made questionnaire based on World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Survey and Andersen behavioral model, and through multivariate logistic regression, the predictors of visiting a dentist during 1 year ago were investigated in 2017. The households’ income inequality in utilization of dental services was analyzed using concentration indices (CIs) and Pearson chi2 in STATA software.RESULTS: The predictor of dental visit during 1 year ago for men was having decayed teeth [odds ratio (OR) = 1.3, P = 0.030], and the predictors for women were lower ages (OR = 0.8, P = 0.001 for 19-29 years old and so on), having 32 natural teeth (OR = 0.7, P = 0.020), and employment (OR = 1.3, P = 0.048). The common predictors were increase in education level (OR = 1.4, P = 0.001 for men, and OR = 1.7, P = 0.001 for women with university degree), brushing (OR = 1.9; P = 0.001 for women, and OR = 1.3; P = 0.040 for men), and having supplementary insurance (OR = 1.7, P = 0.001 for men, and OR = 1.9, P = 0.001 for women). Being burdensome of dental care costs during 3 years ago (CI: -0.074, P = 0.001), avoiding visiting a dentist during 1 (CI: -0.501, P = 0.001) and 3 (CI: -0.501, P = 0.001) years ago because of its costs, and failure to do all dentistry recommendations during 3 years ago (CI: -0.516, P = 0.001) happen more frequently among the poor. Moreover, the poor used all dental services such as scaling (CI: -0.638, P = 0.001), filling (CI: -0.458, P = 0.001), and root canal (CI: -0.524, P = 0.001) less than the rich.CONCLUSION: Dental health status is negatively affected by population socio-economic situation; therefore, it is necessary to implement policies to improve access to dental services among the undeserved.


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