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The supply and utilization of dental services.

Groenewegen, P.P., Postma, J.H.M. The supply and utilization of dental services. Social Science & Medicine: 1984, 19(4), p. 451-459.
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In this article the question is addressed whether regional differences in the supply of dental manpower influences the utilization of dental services. The percentage of the population that visits the dentist, is indeed higher in regions with a higher density of dentists. The number of people that visit a dentist is higher among privately insured patients than among the publicly insured. We have constructed a simple model of the behavior of dentists and patients to find out whether this difference is influenced by the supply of dental manpower. On the assumption that dentists prefer the treatment of privately insured patients we predict a greater difference between publicly and privately insured patients in regions with a lower density of dentists than in regions with a higher density. The data dose not unequivocally support this prediction. A second assumption is that differences between social groups in the chances of uptake of regular treatment influence the behavior of patients on future points in time. To find out whether the limited data we have, support this assumption, we have looked at the differences between privately and publicly insured patients in regions that show an important change in density. The results of this analysis are not as predicted. (aut. ref.)