Using a social ecological model, this study examined the influences of socio-demographic factors, mother's attitudes, financial barriers, and the health care delivery system on the use of dental services for 4–8 year-old Hispanic children. Initiating dental care during the preschool years was significantly related to the mothers' beliefs and her social network's beliefs in the value of preventive dental care. The mother was almost four times more likely to continue the care if she believed that dentist visits would keep the child's teeth healthy. Extended clinic hours in the evenings also increased the likelihood of the mother's return to the dentist to continue child's care. It was not the mother's attitudes but provider availability, dental insurance (including Medicaid) and family income that were related to frequency of planned visits. The study findings can be used in improving access to care and reducing barriers for low-income, urban Hispanic children.


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pp. 431-443
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