Greater inequalities in dental treatment than in disease experience

Gloria Mejia Delgado, L. M. Jamieson, D. Ha, A. J. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


This study aimed to (1) describe social gradients in dental caries in a population-level survey and (2) examine whether inequalities are greater in disease experience or in its treatment. Using data from Australia's National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004-2006, we examined absolute and relative income inequalities for DMFT and its separate components (DT, MT, FT) using adjusted proportions, means, and health disparity indices [Slope Index of Inequality (SII) and Relative Index of Inequality (RII)]. Approximately 90% of Australian adults had experienced caries, with prevalence ranging from 89.7% in the highest to 96.6% in the lowest income group. Social gradients in caries were evident across all components of DMFT, but particularly notable in Missing (SII = -15.5, RII = -0.3) and untreated Decay (SII = -23.7, RII = -0.9). Analysis of age- and gender-adjusted data indicated less variation in levels of disease experienced (DMFT) than in the health outcomes of its management (missing teeth). The findings indicate that social gradients for dental caries have a greater effect on how the disease was treated than on lifetime disease experience.

Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Absolute Concentration Index
  • Relative Concentration Index
  • Relative Index of Inequality
  • Slope Index of Inequality
  • dental caries
  • social differentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

Cite this

Mejia Delgado, G., Jamieson, L. M., Ha, D., & Spencer, A. J. (2014). Greater inequalities in dental treatment than in disease experience. Journal of Dental Research, 93(10), 966-971.