Send to

Choose Destination
Acta Odontol Scand. 2012 Jan;70(1):21-6. doi: 10.3109/00016357.2011.575079. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Patient experiences during waiting time for dental treatment.

Author information

Department of Public Health, University of Turku, Finland.



The aim of this study was to evaluate patient experiences of inconvenience and treatment need while waiting for dental treatment.


A systematic sample of 210 patients with varying lengths of waiting time was drawn from the waiting list for non-emergency treatment in the City of Turku. A questionnaire covering socio-demographic background was mailed to the patients. The level of inconvenience caused by waiting was assessed by a linear visual analogue scale (0-100).


A total of 112 subjects (60%) completed and returned the questionnaire and 109 (58%) gave permission to collect data from their patient records. The average inconvenience score was 42.9, with those who had waited for 3 months or less reporting less inconvenience than those that had waited for 4 months or more. There was not a straightforward linear correlation between length of waiting time and level of inconvenience experienced. Experiences of inconvenience were independent of socio-demographic background. The patient-reported maximum acceptable waiting time for non-urgent dental treatment was 45.8 days. Fewer than half (42.0%) of the subjects had received treatment while waiting for comprehensive care; women (51.7%) significantly (p < 0.05) more often than men (31.5%). Fillings and unspecified emergency treatments were the most commonly needed treatment.


Waiting for dental treatment appears to be well-tolerated, as long as the waiting time remains reasonable. Treatment providers seem to have few means with which to rank dental patients into several queues with different urgencies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center