To compare the reported level of use of secondary care services for restorative dental care in rural and urban areas of Scotland.
Postal questionnaire survey
Postal questionnaire sent to all dentists in the Highland region, the island regions in Scotland and Dumfries Et Galloway (n = 150) and an equal number were sampled from the remainder of Scotland stratified by health board area. Non-respondents were sent 2 reminders after which 62% of the sample had responded.
Most dentists (85%) who practised in what they considered were urban areas of Scotland said they felt that they had good access to a secondary referral service. Whereas most of those who practised in what they considered were rural areas either said they had no access to such a service (26%) or that access was difficult (53%), only 3% of those in urban areas said they had no access to a secondary restorative consultative service compared with 14% of dentists practising in rural areas of mainland Scotland and 54% of those practising on Scottish islands.
The survey suggests the people of the Scottish islands and some of the remoter parts of the Scottish mainland would be among those who might benefit from improvement in access to a restorative dentistry consultant service.