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J Public Health Dent. 1997 Winter;57(1):19-30.

Factors influencing the appropriateness of restorative dental treatment: an epidemiologic perspective.

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1
Department of Dental Public Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7660, USA. grem@u.washington.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

An epidemiology analysis was performed to identify patient and dentist factors influencing over- and undertreatment of restorative services in a sample of insured adults.

METHODS:

At baseline, 681 Washington State employees and their spouses, aged 20 to 34 years and residing in the Olympia or Pullman areas, were interviewed by telephone. Oral assessments were conducted to measure personal characteristics, oral disease, and restoration quality. Adults were followed for two years to measure use of restorative services from dental insurance claims. Each adult's baseline and claims data were linked with provider and practice variables collected from the dentist who provided treatment.

RESULTS:

For overtreatment, 39 percent of adults received one or more replacement restorations in nondecayed teeth with satisfactory fillings at baseline, while 18 percent of adults had one or more restorations placed in teeth with no decay and fillings. An adult's probability of overtreatment was higher if the adult had more fillings at baseline, or if an adult's dentist was younger, had a busy practice, advertised, charged higher fees, had less continuing education, or had a solo practice. For undertreatment, about 16 percent of adults either received no replacement restorations in teeth with unsatisfactory fillings at baseline, or had decayed teeth at baseline that were not filled or crowned. An adult's probability of undertreatment was higher if an adult had less decayed or more missing surfaces at baseline, or if an adult's dentist believed in sharing information with patients, had a busy practice, or reported not placing fillings when radiographic evidence of new caries was present.

CONCLUSIONS:

A minority of adults aged 20 to 34 experienced potential over- or undertreatment of restorative services, which are influenced by both patient and dentist factors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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