[Year:2022] [Month:March-April] [Volume:13] [Number:2] [Pages:6] [Pages No:121 - 126]
Aim: The study aimed to estimate the level of self-reported unmet dental needs of patients reporting to primary healthcare dental clinic (PHDC) in Jazan, Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the impact and relation of geographical location, socioeconomic status, and other risk factors were also evaluated for the population considered.
Materials and methods: The questionnaires, divided into three sections, were administered to 400 patients in the Jazan region, comprised of 301 males and 99 females. While the first section dealt with the geographical location, demographic and socioeconomic status of the population, the second estimated the level of self-reported unmet dental needs of the patients in PHDC for two different time periods, last 1 year and the last 3 months. The third section was an assessment for the reasons for unmet dental needs categorized as accessibility, availability, and acceptability. The results were analyzed with Chi-square and logistic regression to identify the association between the level of self-reporting for unmet dental needs and the factors that affect their level.
Results: This present study reports 61.3% and 67.6% of the population were categorized into unmet dental needs for the last 12 and the last 3 months, respectively. The population with unmet dental needs has a significant association with PHDC accessibility factors (p = 0.021) and patient acceptability factors (p = 0.019). However, no association with dental services availability (p = 0.055) was observed. The geographic location, education level, and occupation were significantly associated with higher unmet dental need levels. On the contrary, age, gender, and patient income were not associated with unmet dental need levels in the population assessed.
Conclusion: Lack of accessibility to PHDC, transportation, acceptability, patient understanding, and level of education are the contributing factors as observed and reported by the population evaluated responsible for the high level of unmet dental needs.
Clinical significance: Accessibility and feasibility of PHDC to the local residents is an integral step in addressing the requirement of the population. Further, responsibility lies with the dentist to educate and emphasize the importance of OHC, its influence on overall health and drive the need for regular dental clinic visits within the population.