Determinants of Dental Health Care Seeking Behaviour in Aseer Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Author(s): Salma Abubaker Abbas Ali, Syed Sadatullah, Ahmed Babiker Ali, Asim Elsir Elmahdi and Weam Sharif Abdelrazag Ibrahim

Aim: This study aims at exploring the barriers which prevent a cohort of Saudi population residing in Aseer province- Southern region from seeking and utilizing dental care services. Methods: This cross-sectional observational study was conducted in three main cities of Aseer province in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, Abha, Khamis Mushayt and Mahayil Aseer in addition to two villages of Tabab and Bahat Rabeea within the geographical district. A self-administered questionnaire which was validated prior to the study was distributed in the Arabic language to facilitate communication with the study participants. Out of 400 study samples, 325 were suitable for analysis. Pearson’s chi-square test with 95% confidence interval level was performed and SPSS version 22 was used for statistical analysis. Results: In our study, out of the 400 questionnaires, 325 were suitable for analysis accounting a response rate of 81.3%. Majority of the samples were between (21-30) years old (N=144, 44%). Males constituted 51.1% (N=166) of the total number while females accounted for 48.9% (N=159). The most common reason for visiting a dentist was Emergency dental pain (N=81, 24.9%), 35% (N=114) haven’t visited a dentist in more than a year. The most common barrier for not seeking a dental treatment for 31% of the patients (N=101) was patients’ perception of lack of need to visit a dentist without the presence of pain. Gender, educational level, geographical district and traditional oral practices were significantly associated with patients’ dental seeking behavior. Conclusion: Based on the study results, expansion of dental awareness programmes, additional free dental services, regular transportation to and from dental centres as well as availability of more appointments are needed for more engagement of the society into dental care. Further studies are required to explore more geographical districts in KSA and ensure equal distribution of dental care among Saudi habitants.


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