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Volume 20 , Issue 2
March/April 2007

Pages 183Ė189


Prosthodontics and the Patient. Part 2: Need Becoming Demand, Demand Becoming Utilization

Birger Narby, LDS / Mats Kronstrom, LDS, PhD / Bjorn Soderfeldt, PhD, Dr Med Sc / Sigvard Palmqvist, LDS, PhD Odont Dr


PMID: 17455442

Purpose: Patientsí oral health needs are estimated through dialogue and professional assessment. The concepts of need and demand are vital to studies of dental care and oral health. Need does not always lead to demand for treatment or to utilization, depending on the gatekeeping processes between need and demand and between demand and utilization. Demand must be accepted with the understanding that there is no objective need and that demand depends on the patientís opinion. In accordance with this, the need for prosthodontic treatment is highly individual and is not automatically related to oral health status, making need and demand difficult to measure in that respect. Therefore, sociodental factors should be included and evaluated in studies of need and demand for utilization of prosthodontic care. Materials and Methods: This theoretical and analytic paper focuses on the gatekeeping processes between need and demand and between demand and utilization of prosthodontic care. Results: The concept of gatekeeping refers to the social and psychologic processes that transform need into demand and demand into utilization. It implies that they are complex processes that can render great differences between demand and actual utilization. Conclusion: It is not possible to estimate a patientís needs for prosthodontic care, since there is no objective need. Demand and utilization are factors that play an important role in the gatekeeping process. These factors are dependent on the patientís opinion, which is influenced by numerous factors. Int J Prosthodont 2007;20:183Ė189.


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