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Public Health Rep. 2005 Mar-Apr;120(2):140-9.

Orofacial pain: patient satisfaction and delay of urgent care.

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Division of Public Health Services and Research, College of Dentistry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0404, USA.



Accomplishing the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating disparities in oral disease will require a better understanding of the patterns of health care associated with orofacial pain. This study examined factors associated with pain-related acute oral health care.


The authors used data on 698 participants in the Florida Dental Care Study, a study of oral health among dentate adults aged 45 years and older at baseline.


Fifteen percent of the respondents reported having had at least one dental visit as the result of orofacial pain. The majority of the respondents reportedly delayed contacting a dentist for at least one day; however, there was no difference between respondents reporting pain as the initiating symptom and those with other problems. Once respondents decided that dental services were needed, those with a painful symptom were nearly twice as likely as those without pain to want to be seen immediately. Rural adults were more likely than urban adults to report having received urgent dental care for a painful symptom. When orofacial pain occurred, those who identified as non-Hispanic African American were more likely than those who identified as non-Hispanic white to delay care rather than to seek treatment immediately, and women were more likely then men. Having a pain-related oral problem was associated with significantly less satisfaction with the services provided; non-Hispanic African American respondents were less likely than non-Hispanic white respondents to report being very satisfied, and rural residents were less likely than urban residents. Furthermore, men were more likely than women to suffer with orofacial pain without receiving either scheduled dental care or an urgent visit.


Barriers to care are complex and likely to be interactive, but must be understood before the goals of Healthy People 2010 can be accomplished.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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