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J Public Health Dent. 2009 Spring;69(2):64-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2008.00102.x.

Canadian dentists' opinions on publicly financed dental care.

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Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The aim of this study was to inform policy leaders of the opinions of Canada's major dental care service provider regarding publicly financed dental care.


Using provincial/territorial dental regulatory authority listings, a 26-item questionnaire was sent to a representative sample of Canadian dentists (n = 2219, response rate = 45.8 percent). Descriptive statistics were produced, and bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to assess what predicts dentists' responses.


Canadian dentists support governmental involvement in dental care, preferring investments in prevention to direct delivery. The majority of dentists have less than 10 percent of their practice represented by publicly insured patients, with a small minority having greater than 50 percent. The majority would accept new publicly insured patients, preferring fee for service remuneration. Dentists generally appear dissatisfied with public forms of third-party financing.


Dentists prefer a targeted effort at meeting public needs and are influenced in their opinions largely in relation to ideology. In order to move forward, policy leaders will need to devote some attention to the influence and complexity of public and private tensions in dentistry At the very least, public and private practitioners must come to appreciate each other's challenges and balance public and private expectations in public programming.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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