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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


LACERDA, Josimari Telino de et al. Dental pain as the reason for visiting a dentist in a Brazilian adult population. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2004, vol.38, n.3, pp.453-458. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: The occurrence of orofacial pain and chronic pain are frequent subjects for study today, but few studies have been made on dental pain in Brazil. The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence of dental pain and the associated factors as the reason for visiting a dentist among adults. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out among 860 workers aged 18-58 years at a cooperative located in the State of Santa Catarina, in 1999. The clinical examinations and interviews were carried out by dentists who had received prior guidance. Complaints of dental pain as the reason for the last visit to a dentist were analyzed as the dependent variable, in relation to the socioeconomic and demographic conditions, access to dental services, shift pattern and caries (via the DMFT index), as the independent variables. Non-conditional multiple logistic regression analysis was utilized. RESULTS: The prevalence of dental pain as the reason for the last visit to a dentist was 18.7% (CI 95%: 15.9-20.1) and the mean DMFT index (decayed, missing and filled teeth) was 20.2 (CI 95%: 19.7-20.7), with 54% represented by the 'missing' component. The following were independently associated with the presence of dental pain: schooling of less than or equal to eight years (OR=1.9; CI 95%: 1.1-3.1); four to fifteen teeth lost due to caries (OR=2.6; CI 95%: 1.4-4.9); 16 to 32 teeth lost due to caries (OR=2.5; CI 95%: 1.1-5.8); and not having visited the company's dental service (OR=2.8; CI 95%: 1.6-5.1). CONCLUSIONS: Dental pain reflects the severity of the dental caries, expressed by the 'missing' component of the DMFT and non-usage of the company's dental services. These factors are determined by social conditions and represented by the schooling level.

Keywords : Toothache [epidemiology]; Oral healthcare services; Prevalence; DMFT index; Socioeconomic factors.

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