Author(s): Vargas CM, Macek MD, Marcus SE
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Abstract This study presents the sociodemographic distribution of tooth pain and the dental care utilization of affected individuals. Data for adults 20 years of age and over were derived from the 1989 National Health Interview Survey's supplements on dental health, orofacial pain, and health insurance (n=33073). Prevalence of tooth pain by socioeconomic status (SES) and adjusted odds ratios of reporting tooth pain in the past 6 months and of having no dental visits in the past year among persons reporting pain in the previous 6 months were computed taking into account the survey's complex sample design. Tooth pain in the past 6 months was reported by 14.5\% (95\% CI 14.0, 15.0) of adults aged 20-64 years and by 7.0\% (95\% CI 6.1, 7.9) of those 65 years and over. In the younger age group, tooth pain was more likely to be reported by those with low SES than it was by those with high SES; in the older age group, tooth pain was more likely reported by non-Hispanic blacks than it was by non-Hispanic whites or Hispanics. Of those reporting pain, younger and older non-Hispanic blacks and persons with lower educational attainment were more likely not to have a dental visit in the previous 12 months. Persons with low SES characteristics were more likely to report tooth pain and to endure their pain without the benefit of dental care while the pain was present.
This article was published in Pain
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research