Pediatric dental visits during 1996: an analysis of the federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey

Pediatr Dent. Jan-Feb 2000;22(1):17-20.


Pediatric health policy articulated by the government, health professions, and child advocates is concerned with eliminating health disparities among children and increasing access to essential pediatric health services. National data are widely available on dental health status and associated disparities by income and race, but little data have been reported on dental service utilization by children. Data from the 1996 federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were analyzed to determine the percentage of children who obtained a dental visit and the number of visits children experienced by age, sex, ethnic/racial background, family income, and parental education. Overall, 43% of all children ages birth through 18 obtained at least one dental visit in 1996. Among children who see a dentist, the average number of visits during 1996 was 2.7. Low income, low education, and minority status are all associated with both lower odds of having a dental visit and lower number of visits per utilizer. Children under 6 had less than half the dental visit rate of older children and had fewer visits per person among utilizers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Continental Population Groups
  • Dental Care for Children / economics
  • Dental Care for Children / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents / education
  • Poverty
  • Sex Factors
  • United States / epidemiology