Objectives: To describe variations in the utilization of dental services by persons aged 50+ from 14 European countries and to identify the extent to which such variations are attributable to differences in oral health need and in accessibility of dental care. Methods: We use data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE Waves 2 and 3) and estimate a series of multivariate logistic regression models to analyze variations in dental service utilization (overall dental attendance, preventive treatment and/or operative treatment, dental attendance in early life years) Results: Overall dental attendance and incidence of solely preventive treatment are comparatively high in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. In contrast, overall dental attendance is relatively low in Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Poland, and Ireland. Moreover, a high incidence of solely operative treatment is observed in Austria, Italy, and France, whereas in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Ireland, the incidence of solely operative treatment is comparably low. By and large, these variations persist even when controlling for cross-country differences in oral health need and in accessibility of dental care. Conclusions: In comparison with other European regions, there is a tendency toward more frequent and preventive dental treatment of the elderly populations residing in Scandinavia and Western Europe. Such utilization patterns appear only partially attributable to differences in need for and accessibility of dental care.
- dental services research
- public policy