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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 176589, 6 pages
Research Article

Performance of Primary Dental Care Services: An Ecological Study in a Large Brazilian City

1Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, Universidade Federal of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Avenida Antônio Carlos 6627, 31270901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
2René Rachou Research Center, FIOCRUZ, Avenida Augusto de Lima 1715, 30190002 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil

Received 17 October 2013; Accepted 21 November 2013

Academic Editors: T. Morotomi and R. G. Palma-Dibb

Copyright © 2013 Rita Sibele Souza Esteves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study explored the association between area-level primary dental care performance and area-level demographics, dental treatment need, and health care service indicators. An ecological cross-sectional study was performed in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 2010. The 142 primary health care (PHC) units were grouped based on the following variables: access to individual dental treatment, frequency of dental emergencies, and frequency of individual preventive procedures. The independent variables analyzed were demographic variables, dental treatment need, and health care service indicators. The data were obtained from the information systems of the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the city of Belo Horizonte. We explored the associations between membership in a specific PHC cluster type and the independent variables using multinomial logistic regression with a significance level of 5%. Variables such as the high/very high vulnerability of population, rate of completed treatment, and rate of referrals of users to secondary care were independently associated with the clusters . The performance of primary dental care services was associated with patient demographics, dental treatment need, and referrals. The results of this study have implications for the planning of public policies.