Parents and guardians perceptions of primary school students accessibility to dental health services in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia: A cross-sectional study

Elsevier, Heliyon, Volume 9, December 2023
Alkhurayji K., Aldakhil S., Alotaibi A., Aldalan R., Naik S., Al-Kheraif A.A. et al.

The success of healthcare delivery systems depends on accessibility. This study aimed to assess parental and guardian perceptions of dental health service accessibility among primary school students in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted among the parents and guardians of primary school students. A 23-item questionnaire was developed on the basis of previous studies. Demographic information, accessibility details, and barriers to dental services were recorded. A total of 385 participants responded to the questionnaire. Approximately 46.2 % of students encountered barriers to accessing dental services. Eighty (20.8 %) male students visited dental facilities more often than female students (72 [18.7 %]) within a 6-month period. Approximately 21 % of students had never visited a dental facility. The lowest number of preventive treatments were administered (15.4 %). Parents and guardians reported that private dental facilities were more accessible (185 [48 %]) than government dental facilities. There was an association between dental facilities and difficulties in accessing dental care services (χ2(4) = 42.753; p < 0.001). In conclusion, parents and guardians reported experiencing difficulties accessing dental services. However, parents and guardians must change their perspectives on accessibility, particularly for preventative care, because primary school children received the lowest.