Purpose: The role of demographic, socioeconomic and psychological factors that influence the subjective assessment of dental needs has been the subject of contemporary dental research. The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between self-reported and clinically diagnosed dental needs, with the view of understanding the factors that affect subjective assessments of dental problems. Materials and Methods: A random sample of 130 subjects, aged 21 to 63 years, was selected from the non-academic staff members of the Athens University of Economics and Business. Data were obtained for 92% (120 participants) of the sample by a questionnaire-based interview and a clinical examination. The questions concentrated on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics and the ratings of oral health, the perceived need, oral functional impacts and the level of satisfaction with the appearance. In the clinical examination, the oral health status of the participants was thoroughly recorded. Results: A strong relationship was detected with the presence of caries, badly broken and missing teeth, and selfreported need for care. Embarrassment due to ones dental health was also associated with the perceived need, although satisfaction with the appearance was not. Neither demographic and socioeconomic status nor self-rated oral health was significantly associated with a currently perceived dental problem. Conclusion: Perceived need for dental care is affected by parameters other than demographic and socioeconomic status (i.e. parameters that are associated with the presence of symptoms and/or impacts on everyday life). Therefore, functional and psychological impacts of the disease seem to be as important, if not more, as the clinical indicators while estimating the dental needs.
Keywords: normative need, oral functional impacts, oral health, perceived need, subjective assessment