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The Oral Health Observatory in Spain, pioneering project in Europe

The Spanish Dental Association publishes the first data from the Oral Health Observatory in Spain

•   There has been a significant decrease in the demand for aesthetic treatments in consultations

•    Most of the clinical work focuses on basic routine dental treatments

•   Implantology has been the least demanded treatment (7% of the total) during the first quarter of 2015

•   For 65% of dentists, the economic crisis is having influence on treatment decisions

Madrid, June 16, 2015. The Observatory for Oral Health in Spain is an initiative arising from the Spanish Dental Association for analyzes and studies of various kinds. The aim is to take the pulse, in a permanent way, to oral health and dental profession in our country. Spain thus becomes one of the few countries in Europe which has a permanent Observatory on Oral Health. The methodology is quantitative, selecting a group of "sentinel dentists" who are interviewed online (CAWI) with a semi-structured questionnaire model. In this way, we can have a picture of the current situation with quarterly data for each wave and an evolutionary analysis comparing the different phases.

The survey has been conducted between April 14 and May 8, in a sample of 150 dentists scattered across the country, with a sampling error of 8%.

Among the main key findings it should be highlighted that 67% of the dentists surveyed works more than 120 hours a month, devoting 76% of their time to care clinical activity, treating on average about 200 patients. Almost 60% of patients are female and patients younger than 19 years old represent only 22% of the total.

60% of the clinical work time is devoted to curative activities while the other 40% is used for preventive treatments or check-ups. Of all curative care provided by the Spanish dentists, on average one third of the treatments are focused on primary care, i.e., on reestablishing dental anatomy by restorations. Implantology has been the least demanded treatment with no more than 7% of the total of this type of curative care.

In relation to the level of professional satisfaction, 9 out of 10 dentists are satisfied with the care that they have offered to their patients during the first quarter of 2015. 65% of the dentists agree with the fact that the economic crisis has had an impact when doing and / or recommending to their patients, different treatment options.

Analyzing the evolution of the types of treatments with regard to the last quarter of 2014, dentists state that there has been a significant decrease in the aesthetic treatments (up to 29%) and a slight increase in basic treatments such as restorations, orthodontics, cleanings and extractions (around 6-8% increase).

Finally, among the major concerns expressed by survey respondents there is the need to better regulate the professional practice (intrusion, unfair competition, deceiving advertising, etc.) mentioned by 56% of sentinel dentists, and the lack of human resource planning in Dentistry (excess number of dentists, lack of real numerus clausus, etc.) indicated by 36% of the sample.

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