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Acta Odontológica Latinoamericana

versão On-line ISSN 1852-4834


FERNANDEZ, Claudia N; SQUASSI, Aldo  e  BORDONI, Noemí. Dental status and dental treatment demands in preschoolers from urban and underprivileged urban areas in Mendoza city, Argentina. Acta odontol. latinoam. [online]. 2015, vol.28, n.1, pp.13-21. ISSN 1852-4834.

The aim of this study was to establish the association between dental status and demand for dental care in preschoolers at urban and underprivileged urban schools in the city of Mendoza. Dental status was diagnosed in a purposive sample of preschoolers at urban schools (Group U: n = 148) and underprivileged urban schools (Group UnU: n = 155) in Greater Mendoza city, by determining the following indicators: (a) caries-free children (%), and (b) dmft/DMFT and its discriminated components, including active non-cavitated enamel caries. The characteristics of demand for care were determined using an ad hoc structured questionnaire. The following were determined: frequency distributions and confidence intervals for categorical variables, measures of central tendency and dispersion, tests for differences in means (Student's t test), association (chi squared) and correlation among variables (Pearson's r), at a significance level p<0.05. Comparison of dental status variables between groups showed significantly higher values in group UnU for: d+D tooth (ẋ = 5.4} 3.8; t = 2.887; p = 0.004); dmft+DMFT (ẋ = 5.7}4.1; t = 0.466; p = 0.020); d+D surface (ẋ = 7.62} 6.2; t = 0.956; p = 0.014); f+F surface (ẋ = 0.12}4.5; t = 2.71; p = 0.007) and percentage of caries-free children (x2= 25.377; p= 0.018). The following trends were found in this group: higher demand on the government subsystem, fewer visits to the dentist (x2 = 7.02, p = 0.008) and greater difficulty in getting appointments (x2 = 19.91, pẋ0.001). Frequency of visits was associated to the severity of dental status (x2 = 19.412; pẋ0.001), but no correlation was found between frequency of visits during the past year and dmft+DMFT (Pearson's r coefficient = 0.091; p = 0.0426) Group U showed preferential demand for the private or "obra social" (trade union managed health insurance) systems (x2 = 78.85 p = 0.00) and there was no statistically significant association between visits to the dentist and dmft+DMFT categories (x2 = 2.781; p = 0.427), although there was direct correlation between frequency of visits during the past year and dmft+DMFT (Pearson's r coefficient = 0.486, p = 0.000). Preschoolers at UnU schools had higher caries indicators than preschoolers at U schools. For UnU the demand for care was related to the severity of dental status and situations of urgency, while U preschoolers demanded dental care in both health and disease, with a tendency to greater adherence to treatment. Actions to promote oral health in preschoolers should take into account both internal and external barriers to access to and use of oral health services.

Palavras-chave : Dental caries; Dental health services; School age populations; Access to health care.

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