Secondary care in oral health in small municipalities: a cross-sectional evaluation of demand x access

ABSTRACT Objective: To know the demand and access to specialized procedures in Oral Health in 10 municipalities in the region of Guanhães, Minas Gerais, Brazil, which do not have a Dental Specialty Center. Methods: Cross-sectional study was conducted with 30 dental surgeons of the Primary Care system. These dentists recorded all the patients who were treated from July to November 2016, and who were shown to be in need of being assigned to specialized procedures in oral health. The descriptive analysis was developed in the software SPSS for Windows version 18.0. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (ruling 1.615.701). Results: 1085 patients assigned for specialized procedures in Oral Health were evaluated. The majority of these patients were women (56.6%), within an age-range from 13-34 years (51.9%). Among the specialties evaluated, 61% of the patients presented the need for endodontic treatment, with the most compromised tooth being the first permanent molar (33.2%). The outcomes were recorded for 435 (40.1%) patients. Among these, 19.8% of the procedures were performed in the health unit itself and in 45.5% extractions were performed. Conclusion: Limited access to specialized Oral Health procedures was verified. To enable the Oral Health National Policy to consider the specificities of such regions, it is suggested that the scope of action of the oral health teams in primary care is expanded, or that less expensive specialized services are created, so that the access to this level of oral health is assured to all referred patients.