Insurance as a predictor of dental treatment: a pilot study in the Savannah, Chatham County area

J Dent Hyg. Winter 2010;84(1):16-23. Epub 2010 Jan 1.


Purpose: To assess patient compliance with the treatment prescribed by the dentist.

Methods: Data, which included age, gender, insurance status and a tally of accepted and rejected procedures by use of CDT (current dental terminology) codes, was extracted from a private dental office database. All patient identifiers were removed to insure internal reliability. Thirty procedure codes were investigated for each patient to determine compliance by individual code and categories which included preventative, radiographic and restorative procedures.

Results: Results indicated that the acceptance rate of dental exams by the insured and uninsured was greater than 80%. The comprehensive oral exam was most commonly rejected. The insured population had a 90% acceptance rate for, where the uninsured population had a 74.6% acceptance rate for the oral prophylaxis procedure. Radiographic procedures had an acceptance rate of 8.3% higher by insured patients than those uninsured. Crowns, bridges and dentures showed less difference in acceptance rates.

Conclusions: A positive correlation exists between insurance status and patient acceptance of prescribed treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Current Procedural Terminology
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Dental Prophylaxis / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Prosthesis / statistics & numerical data
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Georgia
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Dental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Radiography, Dental / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult