Perceived need for dental care in dentate older adults.

Academic Article


  • Previous studies have observed a substantial difference between need for dental care as determined by professional dental examiners (determined by disease presence) and that reported by potential dental patients (which may or may not be based on perceived disease presence). In this study of community-dwelling dentate older adults a substantial difference was also observed. To explore the role that factors other than disease presence may have in determining perceived current need for dental care, subjects were queried about their current oral signs, oral symptoms, psychosocial impacts from oral disease, and other factors hypothesised as affecting current need for dental care. When reporting perceived current need, subjects apparently were not responding to overall assessments of their dental health or periodontal health; rather, they were responding to specific oral signs and symptoms, and their effects. In a multivariate model, dental pain was most strongly associated with perceived need, followed by the psychosocial effects of oral diseases, reported presence of cavities, and reported presence of loose teeth. However, substantial percentages of persons reported oral signs, symptoms, and effects that would be judged professionally as sufficient for reporting a current need for dental treatment, yet did not report a need. With oral signs and symptoms accounted for, persons with less discretionary income and those who were less satisfied with their last dental visit were actually more likely to perceive a current need for dental care.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Gilbert GH; Heft MW; Duncan RP; Ringelberg ML
  • Start Page

  • 145
  • End Page

  • 152
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 2