Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Despite federal, state and local efforts to provide access to dental services to vulnerable populations such as the uninsured and underinsured, many people still do not receive adequate dental care. This study seeks to identify barriers to primary dental care in the City of Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) operates five safety net health centers which provide dental care for the citizens of the Cincinnati service area. Surveys conducted in these centers found that cost was the main reason individuals do not see the dentist regularly. Even in those with dental insurance cost was a major barrier, although most respondents felt that the cost at CHD centers was fair. In addition to cost, fear was cited second most frequently. Chi square analyses were conducted to determine if there were differences based on specific demographics. There was a significant difference in the perceived barriers to dental care based on insurance status. Those without insurance were more likely to cite cost as a barrier. Oral health is important for many reasons. Visiting the dentist regularly is essential in maintaining good oral health. Efforts to increase dental care access for the uninsured/underinsured should focus on overcoming cost barriers.