M.E. Osuh1, G.A. Oke1 and M.C. Asuzu2
Background: Regular utilization of dental services is key to the attainment of optimal oral health state, an integral component of general health and well being needed for effective productivity by working personnel.
Objective: This study assessed the rate and pattern of dental service utilization among civil servants and their attitudes towards its regular use.
Methodology: A multi-stage sampling technique was used to select participants from the Federal Secretariat in Ibadan, Nigeria. A structured, standardized, pretested and self-administered questionnaire was utilized to elicit responses on dental services and attitudes towards their regular utilization. Responses to knowledge and attitude questions were scored and categorized. Chi-squared test was used to test associations between variables at 5% level of significance.
Results: A total of 400 civil servants participated in the study. Their mean age was 44.0 ±7.3 years. Many 291(72.8%) were well informed about dental health care and services, but few 156 (39%) had ever utilized it. Of the utilizers, 32 (20.5%) visited within the previous one year period, while others last visited in more than one year period. Few 17 (10.9%) of the utilizers visited for routine dental checks, 103 (66%) for acute pain relief, while the rest had other dental health care needs. The majority 312 (78.0%) showed positive attitude towards regular dental service utilization and this improved with higher educational attainment, improved level of income, being aware of dental services and having ever utilized it (all p<0.05).
Conclusion: Despite the awareness and positive attitude towards regular dental service use, their utilization rate was relatively low, episodic and problem driven. Appropriate oral health promotion strategies to enhance utilization of preventive dental services are strongly recommended for them.
Keywords: Dental services, Attitude, Utilization
Dr. Mary E Osuh
Community Dentistry Unit,
Dept. of Perio. and Comm. Dentistry.