Health Policy

Geographic variation of dental utilization among low income children

McKernan, S.C.; Kuthy, R.A.; Hanley, P.F.; Jones, M.P.; Momany, E.T.; McQuistan, M.R.; Damiano, P.C.


Spatial accessibility of dental care is mediated by dentist workforce availability and travel costs. In this study, we generated dental service areas through small area analysis of Medicaid administrative data and claims. Service areas were then used to assess dimensions of spatial accessibility, including dentist-to-population ratios, and examine relationships in geographic variation of routine dental care among Medicaid-enrolled children. Our findings indicate significant geographic differences in accessibility for Hispanic children compared to other children, even after controlling for individual and service area characteristics.


McKernan SC, Kuthy RA, Hanley PF, et al. Geographic variation of dental utilization among low income children. 2015;34:150 - 156. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.05.002.