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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

CHAVES, Sônia Cristina Lima et al. Characteristics of the access and utilization of public dental services in medium-sized cities. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.11, pp. 3115-3124. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012001100027.

This cross-sectional study sought to describe the main characteristics of access and utilization of primary and specialized public dental services in two medium-sized cities in Bahia with 100% coverage of the Family Health Program. A survey of 952 households and 2.539 individuals aged over 15 years was conducted. The main variables analyzed were: perceived oral health needs, demand for the service, barriers of organizational access and the type of service and procedure utilized. The use of specialized public dental services was of 11.7% and primary care was 26%. In the city where there was greater use of public dental services, there was less use of private services. The main barrier to access remained in primary care (from 5.0% to 15.2%). There was little interface between secondary care a primary care, as only 16.6% of users returned to this level of care. In conclusion, the main barrier to access in cities with specific organizational and geographic realities appears to be in primary dental care. Individual preventive actions were little reported. It is recommended that barriers to access in primary care be eliminated, and also that a protocol (clinical guides) be established to foster the continuity and longitudinality of primary dental care.

Keywords : Dental care; Access to health services; Health policy; Utilization.

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