Access to root canal treatment in a Nigerian sub-population: assessment of the effect of dental health insurance
Background: The final pathway of tooth mortality lies between tooth extraction, and the more expensive and less accessible root canal treatment (RCT).
Aim: To determine the extent to which individuals’ financial resources as measured by socioeconomic status and dental insurance coverage affects their access to RCT.
Methods: A hospital-based study that used a 15-item questionnaire to collect data among patients scheduled for RCT. All scheduled subjects (N = 291) over a one-year period constituted the sample for the study. Using the SPSS software, associa- tions between the subjects’ variables, and the dental insurance status were carried out with Chi square and independent t test respectively at 95% confidence interval.
Results: Two hundred and ninety-one subjects were to have 353 RCTs within the study period. A high proportion (79.7%, p < 0.001) of the subjects had dental health insurance, majority (95.3%) of which was government funded. 20.9% of those with previous tooth loss was due to inability to afford cost of RCT. The lowest socioeconomic group had the highest pro- portion (90%, p = 0.421) of insured that visited for RCT.
Conclusion: Dental insurance increased access to RCT. Socioeconomic status did not affect dental insurance status and dental visit for RCT.
Keywords: Dental insurance; health insurance; root canal treatment.
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