Exploring the Preferences for Dental Care of Care-Dependent Elderly - PhDData

Access database of worldwide thesis

Exploring the Preferences for Dental Care of Care-Dependent Elderly

The thesis was published by Weijers, Mariëtte Maria Theodora Wilhelmina, in September 2022, University of Bern.


The aim of this study is to explore the preferences of older people for dental services when they have lost their independence. The observed preferences of care-dependent elderly people are compared to the preferences of elderly people who are still living independent.

Material and method:
Discrete choice experiments (DCEs) were used to measure preferences for dental examination and treatment, regarding who provides oral health care and in which setting. All participants were 65 years or older and dependent on care. Data from a similar DCE carried by the University of Bern in 2018, with people over 65 years of age living independently, were analyzed and compared with the preferences of the group of care-dependent elderly people. To estimate the respondents’ preferences, a conditional logit model is used. A Chi-square test is used to compare the results of the care-dependent and independent living elderly.

51 care-dependent elderly people from the region of Bern (mean age 83.96±7,25 years) were questioned. In the DCE with independent living elderly 50 participants from the region of Bern (mean age 73.97±7.54 years) were included. Both groups of elderly express a preference for an examination undertaken by the family dentist. Elderly who live independent prefer the option for an examination done by an auxiliary healthcare person as much as an examination by their family dentist, the care-dependent elderly prefer this option significantly less (p=0.003). Both groups prefer least to have their oral health check performed by a family doctor. The family dental practice and at home are favorite options for the examination. Both groups show a low preference for the specialist setting as the location for oral health screening.
For the dental treatment, the care-dependent and the independent living elderly people show no statistical differences in the preference for treatment provided by a family dentist or performed by a specialist-dentist (p=0.317). The elderly dependent on care prefer to be treated at home or at the family dental practice rather than in a specialist setting. The independent living elderly prefer to be treated in a specialist setting rather than at home.

The results of this DCE suggest that the continuation of dental services from the family dentist should be prioritized. Our research illustrates that the care-dependent elderly people prefer a familiar rather than a specialized form of dental care. The preferences of the care-dependent elderly turn out to be slightly different from the preferences of the elderly living independent.

The full thesis can be downloaded at :

Read the last PhD tips