Dental needs and socio-economic status associated with Utilization of dental services in the presence of dental pain: a case control study in children
Márquez Corona, María de Lourdes
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Aims: To identify the effect of unmet dental treatment needs and sociodemographic variables on the patterns of dental visits in the presence of dental pain in 6 to 12-year-old Mexican schoolchildren. Methods: A case-control study included 379 patients that had a dental visit because of dental pain in the 12 months preceding this study and 1,137 controls. Mothers and/or guardians supplied sociodemographic, socioeconomic, and oral health-related information through a questionnaire. The profiles of unmet dental needs and of oral hygiene were ascertained by means of a standardized dental examination administered to participating children. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated with logistic regression. Results: Higher unmet dental needs and lack of health insurance were associated with the experience of dental visits because of dental pain in the preceding 12 months. Boys who attended public schools had a 70% (95% CI=1.29 to 2.33) higher probability of having had a dental visit in which dental pain was one of the main reasons for attendance, compared to boys attending private schools. The effect for girls was only 28% (95% CI=1.10 to 1.50)higher for girls attending a public school, compared to girls attending private schools. Older children had a higher occurrence of dental visits because of dental pain than younger children. Conclusions: While higher unmet dental needs and lack of health insurance were strong predictors of having had dental visits because of dental pain in the preceding 12 months, some socioeconomic variables and sociodemographic variables modified these relationships.