Dental Care Services in Children: Pattern and Factors for Delay in Seeking Care among Tanzanian Paediatric Dental Patients
Seeking dental care services by responding to pain or potentially painful outcomes of advanced oral lesions impedes quality dental care for children. This study assessed patterns and factors associated to delay in seeking dental care among Tanzanian paediatric dental patients. It involved 312 child dental patient-escort pairs attending a university paediatric dental clinic in Tanzania. Structured questionnaires and clinical examination forms were used for collecting data. Frequency distributions, cross-tabulations and binary logistic regression were conducted to summarise the variables, test for the presence and magnitude of associations between delay in seeking care and socio-demographics plus dental services-related factors, respectively. Over two-thirds (68.6%) of the participants were delayed in seeking dental care; 45.2% were brought more than a month since the parents were informed or noted the child’s oral dental complaint. Delayed children were more likely to have had previous dental visits (OR =1.8 95% CI 1.1, 3.0) while less likely to require physically stabilised during the dental procedure (OR=0.5 95% CI 0.3, 1.0). In conclusion, the pattern and factors associated with delay in seeking care among Tanzanian paediatric dental patients were such that; most of the patients attended late, and dental-related factors explained the delay rather than the sociodemographic factors. Previous unsatisfactory dental experiences could explain the observation made. Ensuring quality of dental services provided, such as improving dental treatment outcomes and providing comprehensive dental care with enhanced preventive dental services
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