Background: Barriers to oral health utilization are many, but those that are significant for our environment are not yet clear. The current study was designed to identify and graduate the barriers to receipt of oral health care among a cross-section of patients attending our centre. We also investigated the influence of socio demographic factors on the highly rated barriers.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among patients visiting UCH, Ibadan using a self-administered questionnaire. Socio-demographic variables and oral health care seeking behaviour were requested and in addition, the respondents were asked to rank 11 listed barriers to receipt of oral health care and any other barriers they may think of in order of strength. Factor analysis was employed in order to identify four factors with the highest loading. The mean scores were compared using t-test and one-way ANOVA and the level of significance was set at 0.05.
Results: Only 400 questionnaires were properly filled (84.9%) out of the 471 that were administered. The mean age of these participants was 37.85±15.38 years. Most of the respondents (55.8%) consulted the dentists only when there was pain while 109(27.3%) had never visited the dentist. Fear of dental injection, cost of treatment, feeling of insecurity when the dentist is operating and disturbing noise from dental drill were the major barriers. There was a statistically significant association between age groups and feeling of insecurity (p=006).
Conclusion: The major barriers to oral health care utilization among our patients were fear related.
Keywords: Barriers; dental anxiety; oral health care.