The relationship between access to and use of dental services following expansion of a primary care service to embrace dental team training

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To investigate changes in the patient population and treatment case-mix within an expanded primary care dental training facility in Southern England.

Study design
Cross-sectional analysis of patient management system data.

Electronic data for patients with a closed/completed treatment plan in the 12-month period prior to, and following, dental service expansion were extracted for analysis (n = 4343). Descriptive analysis involved age, sex, payment status, deprivation status and treatment activity. Logistic regression was used to model the likelihood of treatment involving laboratory constructed devices (crowns, bridges, dentures), in relation to demography and deprivation in each time period.

The volume of patients using the service increased by 48.3% (1749 cf 2594). The average age increased from 31.97 (95%CI: 30.8, 32.5) to 36.4 years (95%CI: 35.6, 37.1); greatest increase was in the over 75 years age-group (96%). The patient base became less deprived: patients exempt from payment reduced from 43.2% (n = 755) to 28.6% (n = 741) (P = 0.001) and the mean population deprivation score (IMD) reduced from 24.5 (95%CI: 23.8, 25.2) to 22.3 (95%CI: 21.7, 22.8). The volume and proportion of care involving laboratory constructed devices increased from 8.3% (n = 145) to 15.8% (n = 411) whilst assessments without interventive care decreased (34.5%–26.3%). On a logistic regression, the odds of having treatment involving laboratory constructed devices, increased with increasing age in both time periods 7% (95% CI: 1.06–1.08) and 6% (95% CI: 1.05–1.07) respectively. Furthermore, the odds increased by 38% OR: 1.38 (95% CI: 1.01–1.89) in period 2, for white patients. After adjusting for these effects, the odds of having care that involved laboratory constructed devices were less in period 2 than period 1 (100% cf 43%) for those who were technically exempt from payment (OR = 2.0; 95% CI 1.34 to 2.90 cf, OR = 1.43; 95% CI 1.13–1.81).

The patient population altered in relation to age and socio-economic status. The expanded service had greater uptake by older people while users were less likely to be deprived. The expanded service, free at the point of delivery, attracted a higher proportion of patients who would normally have to pay health service charges. The service also showed an increase in treatment case-mix that involved laboratory constructed dental devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)1028-1033
Number of pages6
JournalPublic Health
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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