Variations in self-reported provision of services by general dentists in private practice

Nadereh Pourat, Marvin Marcus
Journal of the American Dental Association 2011, 142 (9): 1050-60

BACKGROUND: Variations in dentists' provision of services have been documented, but information about contributing factors is limited.

METHODS: The authors used responses to a 2003 survey of general dentists in private practice in California (46 percent response rate; 3,098 dentists included in the final sample) to assess variations in service provision and its correlates. They used logistic regressions to assess the correlation of various characteristics with the self-reported percentage of time spent providing services.

RESULTS: The results show variations in services provided by general dentists in private practice. Multiple factors, including the dentist's sex, region of practice, employment of hygienists, patients' race and population income in the area of practice were significantly and independently associated with provision of services.

CONCLUSIONS: The survey results reflect practice variations that existed before the latest economic downturn, which resulted in a loss of jobs and medical and dental insurance. The data serve as the baseline for future studies of changes in dental practice and for assessing the impact of the 2010 health care reform legislation on dental practice. Practice Implications. Improvements in oral health care, the recent economic decline and health care reform may lead to changes in dental practice and in the dental workforce.

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