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Aust Dent J. 2009 Sep;54(3):204-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1834-7819.2009.01120.x.

Access to dental care among adults with physical and intellectual disabilities: residence factors.

Author information

1
Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, School of Dentistry, The University of Adelaide, South Australia. archana.pradhan@adelaide.edu.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is limited information about access and barriers to dental care among adults with disabilities.

METHODS:

A mailed questionnaire survey of carers of 18-44-year-old South Australians with physical and intellectual disabilities (care recipients; n = 485) in family homes, community housing and institutions. Bivariate associations were tested using chi-square tests. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95 per cent confidence intervals (CI) were estimated for irregular dental visits (IDV).

RESULTS:

Carers from family homes and community housing were more likely to report problems in obtaining dental care than those at institutions (p < 0.001). Lack of dentists with adequate skills in special needs dentistry (SND) was the most frequently reported problem for carers from family homes and community housing. IDV were less likely (p < 0.01) for care recipients in institutions and community housing than in family homes. After adjusting for care recipients' age, gender and disability, odds of IDV was lower in community housing (OR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.1, 0.3) and in institutions (OR = 0.1, 95% CI = 0.04, 0.3) relative to family homes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Care recipients in institutions and community housing had better access to dental care than those at family homes. The shortage of dentists in SND and treatment costs needs to be addressed.

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