December 2021

Volume 38, Issue 4

Private practice dentists’ views of oral health injustice

Authors: Alexander C. L. Holden Lee Adam Murray Thomson
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00009Holden07

Abstract

Objectives: There is a lack of research examining how dentists in private practice conceptualise the challenge presented by oral health injustice and how attitudes towards low-income patients might be influenced by the commercial nature of private dental care. This study provides insights into how dentists navigated the interactions between the commercial nature of dental practice and the provision of care to patients who either struggled to (or could not) afford the cost of self-funded care in private practice. Methods: Participants took part in semi-structured interviews and were invited to keep an online diary of reflections. Thematic analysis was used to examine the data to extract and synthesise understanding of how practitioners conceptualised issues surrounding providing care for the disadvantaged and how this related to the economic realities of private practice. Results: Twenty participants were recruited and interviewed from a variety of private practice environments and roles. This report focuses on one specific theme within the data that explored how participants viewed patients who received public dental care, as well as those privately funded patients who could ill-afford their treatment. Conclusions: The findings raise how neoliberal attitudes towards oral healthcare and dental disease may act as a social determinant of health and contribute to the sustaining of structural barriers and inaction towards oral health injustice. For low-income patients, practitioners distinguish between (a) those who are deemed to be deserving of professional care and the charitable endeavours of the profession, and (b) those who are not. There appears to be no overt professional obligation to actively work towards the amelioration of oral health injustice. Keywords: Access to care, Dentistry, Professionalism, Commercialism, Injustice, Qualitative research

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Other articles in this issue

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Editorial: The importance of studying communication processes in the dentist: patient interaction 222-223 Download
Editorial:Delivering Better Oral Health 2021 – What’s new and where next? 224-225 Download
Dental Public Health in Action: Experiences and Responses of Oral Health Care Professionals during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malta 226-229 Download
Determinants of anterior tooth loss in Chilean adults: data from the Chilean National Health Survey 2016-2017. 230-234 £10 single article
Family Functioning and Dental Behaviours of Pre-school Children 235-240 £10 single article
Social inequality in tooth loss: separate and joint effects of household income and dental visits 241-245 £10 single article
Periodontal Status as Mediator of the Association between Socioeconomic Status and Oral Health-Related Quality of Life in Pregnant Women 246-250 £10 single article
Parental perception and acceptance of silver diamine fluoride treatment among Syrian refugees 251-255 £10 single article
A utilisation profile of publicly financed oral examinations in the Republic of Ireland 256-260 £10 single article
Twitter communication of the UK public on dental health and care during a COVID lockdown: “My kingdom for a dentist” 261-267 Download
Private practice dentists’ views of oral health injustice 268-274 £10 single article
Effectiveness of school-based behavioural interventions to improve children’s oral health by reducing sugar intake and promoting oral hygiene: A rapid review of randomised controlled trials. 275-283 £10 single article
Obituary: Ruth Freeman 1954 – 2021 284-284 £10 single article

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