Findings of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio's Dental School pilot mobile van program in Laredo, Texas

Juanita Lozano-Pineda, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Lack of access to oral health care frequently affects those of lower socio-economic level; individuals in this group experience more dental decay, and the caries experience is more likely to be untreated. Inadequate dental care access may be attributed to exclusion that is due to income, geography, age, race or ethnicity. Objective: The present study aims were to: (1) determine how oral disease prevalence and access to dental services in four US-Mexico Border unincorporated low socioeconomic settlements identified as colonias compare to each other and Laredo, Texas, and (2) determine if insurance status affects dental care access and/or disease prevalence. Methods: A secondary analysis of data from a retrospective chart review of 672 patients attending a Mobile Dental Van Program in the Webb County colonias. Demographic information, (ethnicity, age, gender, insurance coverage and colonia site), dental visits within past year, insurance status, presence of dental sealants, prevalence of untreated dental decay (caries), and presence of gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis) were extracted. Pearson's chi-square tests (χ2) were computed to compare the prevalence of these outcomes between colonias and Laredo and their potential association with insurance status. Results: For 6 - 11 year olds, dental visits in the past year were lower for colonias (39%), than Laredo (58.5%) (p<0.002). Caries prevalence was higher for colonias (56.6%), than Laredo (37.1%) (p<0.001). Gum disease prevalence was higher in colonias (73%), than in Laredo (21.4%) (p<0.001). No significant differences were noted for caries (χ2=1.73; p<0.188) and gum disease (χ2=0.0098; p<0.921) by patient's insurance status. For adults 36 - 64 years of age, dental visits in the past year were lower in colonias (22.4%), than Laredo (36.3%) (p<0.001). Caries prevalence was higher for colonias (78.3%), than Laredo (54.0%) (p<0.001). Gum disease prevalence was also higher among colonias (91.3%) than Laredo (61.3%) (p<0.001). No significant differences were noted for caries (χ2=0.0010; p<0.975) and gum disease (χ2=0.0607; p<0.805) by patient's insurance status. Conclusion: Colonia residents seeking dental care at a Mobile Dental Van Program in Webb County have significantly higher prevalence of oral disease regardless of insurance status.

Subject Area

Dentistry|Public health

Recommended Citation

Lozano-Pineda, Juanita, "Findings of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio's Dental School pilot mobile van program in Laredo, Texas" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1470649.
https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI1470649

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