Is there a fair distribution of the structure of dental services in the capitals of the Brazilian Federative Units?
BACKGROUND: Brazilian Primary Care Facilities (PCF) provide primary care and must offer dental services for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases. According to a logic of promoting equity, PCF should be better structured in less developed places and with higher need for oral health services. OBJECTIVE: To analyze the structure of dental caries services in the capitals of the Brazilian Federative Units and identify whether socioeconomic factors and caries (need) are predictors of the oral health services structure. METHODS: This is an ecological study with variables retrieved from different secondary databases, clustered for the level of the federative capitals. Descriptive thematic maps were prepared, and structural equations were analyzed to identify oral health service structure's predictors (Alpha = 5%). Four models with different outcomes related to dental caries treatment were tested: 1) % of PCF with a fully equipped office; 2) % of PCF with sufficient instruments, and 3) % of PCF with sufficient supplies; 4) % of PCF with total structure. RESULTS: 21.6% of the PCF of the Brazilian capitals had a fully equipped office; 46.9% had sufficient instruments, and 30.0% had sufficient supplies for caries prevention and treatment. The four models evidenced proper fit indexes. A correlation between socioeconomic factors and the structure of oral health services was only noted in model 3. The worse the socioeconomic conditions, the lower the availability of dental supplies (standard factor loading: 0.92, P = 0.012). Estimates of total, direct and indirect effects showed that dental caries experience observed in the Brazilian population by SB-Brasil in 2010 did not affect the outcomes investigated. CONCLUSION: Material resources are not equitably distributed according to the socioeconomic conditions and oral health needs of the population of the Brazilian capitals, thus contributing to persistent oral health inequities in the country.
de Sousa Queiroz, RC; Ribeiro, AGA; Tonello, AS; Pinheiro, ACM; Júnior, JA; Rocha, TAH; da Silva, NC; Costa, EM; Vissoci, JRN; Staton, C; Facchini, LA; Thomaz, EBAF
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