The Change of Patient Profile, Attitudes and Satisfaction in University Dental Clinic after Onset of Economic Crisis in Greece

Summary

Background/Aim: The aim of the study was to evaluate and compare patient profile, attitude and satisfaction of patients visiting a university periodontal clinic before and during the financial crisis in Greece.

Material and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, adult consecutive patients that visited the undergraduate Periodontology clinic of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from October 2014 to July 2015 were invited to participate anonymously. The only exclusion criterion that was set was the age: all individuals had to be ≥18 years old. The questionnaire utilized in this study included six parts of questions: 1) demographic characteristics; 2) environmental and behavioral characteristics; 3) diagnosis of periodontal disease; 4) medical history; 5) difficulties-satisfaction-proposals about periodontal treatment; and 6) history of periodontal therapy. One hundred and fifty individuals, mean aged of 51.6±12.3 years were interviewed concerning their demographic and behavioral characteristics. Satisfaction level, reasons for selecting the university dental clinic and oral hygiene habits were also recorded.

Results: The profile of the patient attending the university periodontal clinic was a female (54.0%), 51-year-old on average, of high education (76.0%), good oral hygiene habits (brushing ≥2 times/day: 49.3%, use of additional oral health care: 66.0%), heavy smoker (>15 cigarettes/day: 51.9%) and chronic periodontal disease (96.7%). Economic difficulties led the participants to seek periodontal treatment in the university clinic (30.7%), but the vast majority of them were highly satisfied (81.3%), confident (82.0%) and informed (51.3%) about the treatment. Before the financial collapse in Greece, the profile of the patients in the clinic was characterized by low socioeconomic status with poor oral hygiene, none or basic education and unemployed (no income) and retired individuals. Heavy smoking, diagnosis of chronic periodontal disease and satisfaction were also reported prior to the financial crisis.

Conclusions: The demographic characteristics of those who seek treatment in a university setting have changed dramatically and younger, more highly educated and employed individuals attend the undergraduate Periodontology clinic of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece compared with those who attended the university dental clinic prior to the financial crisis.

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