Effects of some patients\' perceptions and practices on the treatment of dental diseases – a study of the situation in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
AbstractIn their search for relief, dental patients (especially if experiencing severe pain) use a variety of substances and visit different types of health care establishments for treatment and relief. Many patients are unaware of the proper places where routine dental care is available and this results in inappropriate management of dental diseases. This study investigated the types of drugs and substances used, the sources of treatment to which dental patients have initial recourse and the factors and constraints that influence their choices. Two orthodox (the University of Benin Teaching Hospital and the Central Hospital) and three traditional (Ebohon Traditional Health Clinic, Omon Obheaghele Herbal Home and Dr. Jibril Traditional Medical Centre) health establishments, all in Benin City, Edo State in Nigeria were used for the study. A total of 400 patients were sampled and information was obtained by means of a questionnaire. The study revealed that only 41.5% of the sampled patients visited an orthodox hospital as a first action in their search for dental treatment. Of these, female patients (54.5%) sought hospital treatment more readily than males (29.1%) as a first-line measure. The study revealed that various drugs and substances including antibiotics, analgesics and unorthodox agents such as petrol, alcohol, auto-battery acid and urine were inappropriately used prior to a visit or reference to a hospital or dentist. The study showed that only 37%of dental patients received treatment from a dentist and most of these were serious cases referred only when non-dentists had been unable to treat them. The study revealed that resort to self-medication, ignorance about availability of proper dental treatment, high cost of dental treatment, fear of the dentist and treatment by non-dental personnel militate against the effective treatment of dental patients. It is recommended that to ensure a comprehensive and effective oral health-care among Nigerians, the Federal, State and Local Governments should place emphasis on the provision of dental health awareness education and care to the populace at the community and primary school levels.
Keywords: dental diseases, treatment, patients perceptions, constraints
West African Journal of Pharmacology and Drug Research Vol. 20(1&2) 2005: 44-47