Utilization of dental services: 1986 patterns and trends

J Public Health Dent. Summer 1989;49(3):147-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.1989.tb02051.x.


Data from the 1986 Access to Health Care Survey of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a nationwide telephone survey, were used to provide information on changes and trends in dental utilization in the United States. Sixty-three percent of the respondents five years or older (N = 9,352) had had a dental visit within the past year. Being elderly, having lower socioeconomic status, and being black were independent risk factors for having fewer dental visits. Persons who had dental check-ups during the past year also demonstrated higher rates of other preventive health procedures (i.e., Pap smears, mammograms, breast examinations, and routine medical examinations). Among those without a dental visit within the past year, a financial barrier to receiving such care was reported by 12 percent of those surveyed, compared to 37 percent in 1976. We concluded that during the past decade there has been a continued trend toward increased dental visits and decreased financial problems relating to receiving dental care; however, the poor, ethnic minorities, and those with less education continue to have much lower rates of dental care utilization compared to the general population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Probability
  • United States