A profile of patients in six dental school clinics and implications for the future.
Surveys were conducted of patients receiving care at six dental school clinics in the United States during a one-week period in the fall of 1993. Survey data were analyzed to determine who was using services provided by these dental schools, the types of services being provided, and why people chose to receive their care at these dental schools. Eighty-one percent of the patients indicated that low cost was an important reason for seeking care at a dental school; the patients receiving care at these dental schools tended to be low income. Seventy-six percent paid for some or all of their care out of pocket. As dental schools reevaluate their mission regarding patient care issues and assess the impact of their decisions, information about dental school clinics, particularly who seeks care there and why, should be an important consideration.