Citation Information :
Alade GO, Orikpete EV. Self-reported Treatment Needs and Utilization of Dental Services among Dental Students and Dental Technology Students. J Oral Health Comm Dent 2022; 16 (1):41-44.
Aim: Dental care utilization is an indispensable facilitator of oral health. The aim of this study was to assess the differences between the levels of utilization of dental services and to compare the self-reported treatment needs between dental students and dental technology students.
Materials and methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving dental students and dental technology students. A self-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information of participants. The questionnaire included questions on sociodemographic information, self-reported treatment needs, and utilization of dental services. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS version 21.
Results: A total of 109 dental students and 110 dental technology students participated in this study. The mean age of participants was 23.3 ± 3.8 years. Whereas 67.0% of dental students had visited a dentist in the past 12 months, only 35.5% of dental technology students had done so. There was no statistically significant difference in the utilization of dental services between males and females. The most commonly reported treatment that had been done in both group of students was scaling and polishing. Reasons attributed for not visiting the dentist included high cost of dental treatment (44.6%), lack of time (23.0%), fear of dental treatment (17.6%), and the belief that they had no dental issues (14.9%).
The majority of dental students rated their oral hygiene as good (67.0%), whereas 45.5% each of dental technology students rated their oral hygiene as either excellent or good. Most (80.7%) dental technology students needed further dental treatment, compared to 48.6% of dental students who did. Scaling and polishing was the treatment more participants (47.9%) felt they needed.
Conclusion: Dental students utilized dental services more frequently than dental technology students. The high cost of dental treatment was the major barrier to seeking dental care.
Clinical significance: Utilization of dental services in Nigeria remains suboptimal; thus, there is need for continuous oral health awareness programs among the populace. In addition, health insurance with broad coverage of dental services is needed.
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