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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 210-215

The challenge of late presentation by dental patients in our climes: Reasons behind the enigma

1 Department of Dental and Maxillofacial Surgery, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos/Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Adebayo Aremu Ibikunle
Department of Dental and Maxillofacial Surgery, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_91_19

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Background: Late presentation among patients is a global phenomenon. It exerts deleterious effects on health-care indices. Aim: The aim of the study was to assess reasons for late presentation by patients and interventions implemented. Materials and Methods: This study was done at the dental outpatient clinic of Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital following ethical approval. A survey of patients aged 18 years and above who presented with more than 1-month history of symptoms was done using an adaptation of a validated questionnaire. Data analysis was done using the IBM SPSS Statistics version 20 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Categorical data were compared among groups using Chi-square test and the level of statistical significance was set at P < 0.05. Results: One hundred and seven participants were included in the analysis. A male-to-female ratio of 1.4:1 and a mean age of 30.9 ± 11.4 years were observed. Most participants were of low socioeconomic status. A comparison of the socioeconomic status of the participants between genders revealed no statistically significant difference (P = 0.289). Forty-five (42.1%) participants had never visited a dental clinic before. Notably, the pain was the most common symptom encountered in 63 (58.9%) participants. Majority of the respondents had experienced symptoms for 1–3 months 30 (28%). The most frequent reason for the late presentation was that respondents had “tried other medications” (23 [21.5%]). Fear alone or in combination with other factors was the reason in 18 (16.8%) patients, majority of whom were females (11 [61.1%]). Where fear was the underlying reason, the fear of contracting disease had a significant presence (8 [44.4%]). Conclusion: The reasons underlying the late presentation in our climes are varied. Self-medication featured prominently and should therefore be discouraged. Moreover, awareness of dental treatment among the populace should be improved.

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