Summary: Utilization Of Dental Care In Canada

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The purpose and focus of this paper was to evaluate how the difference public dental care services and programs in Canada translate to utilization of dental services with special focus on Alberta, Manitoba, and Newfoundland. Publicly funded dental care in the three-selected provinces represents different levels of public support for dental health care in Canada. Alberta has an elaborate and extensive dental care support for different socio-economic groups in the province, whereas Manitoba and Newfoundland have a modest and small public support respectively. In all the three provinces, there is a public support for dental care for children through existing publicly funded dental programs such as the Alberta Child Health Benefit (ACHB),
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Data used for the study was sourced from CCHS, which is a cross-sectional survey. Like all cross-sectional surveys, it is impossible to infer causality in the study. Data from the survey was collected at a single point in time; hence, there is no information on the sequence of events concerning access and use of dental care services in the three provinces of interested – Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland. Thus, associations between the study’s independent variables (province of residence and socio-economic characteristics) and the dependent variables (consultation with a dentist, an actual visit to a dentist and visited a dentist in less than 1 year) cannot be inferred to be causal. For instance, the association between age and income on one hand and consultation with a dentist do not necessarily imply that the age and income are factors that cause an individual to consult a dentist. Furthermore, responses provided by the CCHS respondents can rarely be verified independently, as they are self-reported health care seeking and usage behaviour. The methodological limitations of this study entail the measures used to determine accessibility and utilization of dental care services, and the sampled population. In reference to the former, access and use of dental care are labyrinthine phenomena shaped by intricate social, cultural, economic, political, and institutional factors, not all of which have been captured in this study. In addition, the study does not capture reasons for non-consultation or visitation to a dentist or orthodontist. This limitation is largely because of the lack of follow up questions for respondents who had not consulted a dentist or orthodontist; hence, there is no knowledge or information on why they had not consulted a dentist or
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