Access to Dental Care for Rural Children: A Survey of Nebraska General Dentists

McFarland, K., Salama, F., and Yaseen, M.
(2011) The Journal of Rural Health, 27 (2), 205-210


Background: Pediatric dentists are too few in number to care for all children. Therefore, the level of pediatric dental services provided by general dentists, especially in rural areas, is crucial to improving the dental health of children. Purpose: The objectives of the study were to establish a baseline in regard to the quantity of pediatric dental care provided by general dentists in rural Nebraska as well as to measure their interest, if any, in receiving additional pediatric training. Methods: All rural general dentists (n = 350) in the state of Nebraska received an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved 12-item questionnaire. The response rate was 71% (n = 248). Both descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted, including chi-square and the analysis of variance (ANOVA). Findings: Forty-five percent of rural Nebraska dentists devote more than 20% of their practice to serving the dental needs of children. One-third of all rural Nebraska dentists indicated they would like additional training in pediatric dentistry. Conclusions: A significant opportunity exists to provide additional pediatric training for general dentists in rural Nebraska to further increase access to care for children.