Knowledge of who a dentist is among patients in a government dental clinic in Jos
Background: Lack of knowledge of a dentist by implication may mean lack of knowledge of its role in oral health care. This may affect patients' attitude towards oral health care. This study aimed at assessing patients' knowledge of a dentist and its effect on attitude towards oral health care.
Methods: Cross-sectional study of patients attending a Government Dental Clinic in Jos. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection on socio-demographics, knowledge of dentist, reasons for visiting and late visits. Data analyzed using SPSS 21.
Results: A total of 150 patients were seen whose ages ranged between 16-65 years with a M:F ratio of 1: 1.4. 92% of them had incorrect knowledge of a dentist, describing the dentist as “teeth doctor” (94.2%) and “doctor that removes teeth” (2.2%). Of the total sample, 58 (38.7%) patients were visiting for the first time and major reason for visit was pain (77.2%). More than half of them that visited because of pain 26 (59.1%) had been with the pain for more than three weeks citing fear (26.9%) as major reason for coming late for treatments. For those with prior dental visits, lack of time (29.0%) was major reason for late visit. Ironically, visiting the dentist mostly when in pain was also the attitude shown by those with correct knowledge (8.0%) of a dentist.
Conclusions: There is a misconception about the person of a dentist. Attitude of seeking care when in pain was common among both patients with correct and incorrect knowledge of dentists.
Keywords: knowledge, dentist, patients, oral, health