Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Orthodontics Research Center and Dept. of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

2 Students’ Research Committee, School of Dentistry, International Branch, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Dept. of Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

Abstract

Statement of the Problem: No published literature was found studying the people's reasons on why to choose or not to choose a dental care setting in south Iran, while understanding their attitude towards choosing their dental care center is consequential for planning a successful oral health care service system.   Purpose: To determine the factors affecting how people of the city of Shiraz choose their dental health services.Materials and Method: A cross-sectional analytic study was designed. A self-administered questionnaire was produced, tested and then distributed among 570 multistage randomly selected parents of schoolchildren of the city of Shiraz. Independent t-test, paired t-test and Spearman correlation were used to analyze the factors influencing participants in choosing clinics for their esthetic and non-esthetic dental treatments.Results: 400 questionnaires were complete and analyzed. The recommendation from others was found to be the most encouraging factor to choose a dentist or a dental clinic. More importance was reported for various factors affecting participants' choice of dental clinic when seeking non-esthetic treatments, while recommendation and reputation of dentist/dental clinic played a vital role in esthetic treatments. The cost was more important for respondents living in more deprived districts (p= 0.05), for unemployed group (p< 0.001) and for those with less education (p< 0.001).Conclusion: Factors affecting people's choice for dental care proved to be highly complicated. Recommendation was found playing an important role. Dental patients consider various factors when looking for non-esthetic treatment but would go for the best possible when seeking esthetic treatments. Findings of this study indicate that patients’ choice and utilization of dental service can be improved if dental clinics provide high quality of dental care with reasonable fees.Key Words: Dentists; Oral health; Health services; Attitude to health