Abstract: Objectives: To explore self-reported cost-prohibitive dental treatment needs among Canadians.
Methods: Data were collected through a national telephone interview survey of 1006 randomly selected Canadian adults. Descriptive analyses based on socio-demographic characteristics and dental-related behaviours were undertaken. Logistic regression was used to determine the predictors of experiencing a cost-prohibitive dental care need. Chi-square tests were used to determine significant differences in the treatments reported as unaffordable by socio-demographic characteristics and dental-related behaviours.
Results: Those of low income, no insurance coverage and poor self-rated oral health were more likely to report having a cost-prohibitive dental care need. The top needs reported as unaffordable were fillings, cleanings and check-ups. Comparatively, preventive services were selected as cost-prohibitive more often by the insured, dentures by the oldest group and extractions by those with a high school education or less.
Conclusions: This study confirms that there are significant relationships between socio-demographic factors, dental-related behaviours and the types of dental services that are selected as unaffordable. Indirectly, this shows us how socio-demographic factors may influence the types of dental services that are reported as ‘needed’ by certain groups. Difficulties in distinguishing between the services that are ‘needed’ from and those that are ‘wanted’ demonstrate some of the policy complexity associated with publicly financed dental care.