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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 70, No. 10
ISSN: 1488-2159
November 2004


Regional Variation in Dental Procedures among People with an Intellectual Disability, Ontario, 1995–2001


• Robert S. Balogh, MSc •
• Hélène Ouellette-Kuntz, MSc •
• Duncan J.W. Hunter, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

Background: The literature indicates that people with an intellectual disability have a prevalence of dental caries that is either lower than or similar to that of the general population. However, many of their caries go untreated, and extractions are more often used as a means of treatment than in the general population.

A substantial percentage (40%) of day admissions to hospital of people with intellectual disabilities in Ontario is related to dental diseases. In this paper, we examine whether rates of in-hospital dental procedures are evenly distributed across Ontario and discuss possible explanations for the findings.

Materials and Method: A retrospective analysis was made of routinely collected hospital admission data for people with an intellectual disability. Age- and gender-adjusted rates for dental procedures were calculated using the direct method of adjustment and 1996 census population estimates of Ontario. Three different summary measures for the assessment of regional variation were used.

Results: Two areas had dental procedure rates among those with an intellectual disability that were significantly lower than the overall Ontario rate: Hamilton-Wentworth and Quinte-Kingston and Rideau. The 3 district health council areas with the highest rates for dental procedures were Niagara, Essex-Kent and Lambton, and Durham-Haliburton-Kawartha and Pine Ridge; all 3 rates were higher than the overall Ontario rate.

Conclusions: The use of day surgery and in-hospital visits to treat dental diseases in people with an intellectual disability varies considerably by region in Ontario. Observed differences may indicate inequities.


MeSH Key Words: Canada; dental care for disabled; dental service, hospital; health services accessibility
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