Factors that limit access to dental care for adults with spinal cord injury

Hon K. Yuen, Bethany J. Wolf, Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Kathryn M. Magruder, Anbesaw W. Selassie, Carlos F. Salinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated dental care service utilization among adults with spinal cord injury (SCI) and identified barriers and other factors affecting utilization among this population. There were 192 subjects with SCI who participated in the oral health survey assessing dental care service utilization and they were compared with subjects from the 2004 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS). There was no significant difference in the proportion of subjects with SCI who visited the dentist for any reason in the past year compared to the general population (65.5% vs. 68.8%, p = .350). However, subjects with SCI were less likely to go to the dentist for a dental cleaning in the past year compared to the general population (54.6% vs. 69.4%, p < .001). The three most commonly reported barriers to accessing dental care were cost (40.1 %), physical barriers (22.9%), and dental fear (15.1%). Multivariate modeling showed that physical barriers and fear of dental visits were the two significant factors deterring subjects from dental visits in the past year. Physical barriers preventing access to dental facilities and dental fear are prevalent and significantly impede the delivery of dental health care to adults with SCI. Dentists should undertake necessary physical remodeling of their facilities to accommodate wheelchair users and implement appropriate strategies for the management of dental fear among patients with SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalSpecial Care in Dentistry
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2010

Keywords

  • Dental care access
  • Dental fear
  • Paraplegia
  • Physical barriers
  • Tetraplegia

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