Access to Dental Hygiene is a social justice issue.
According to the West Los Angeles College Dental Hygiene program:
- Oral health and homelessness are the greatest barriers to school attendance.
- Dental health issues remain a barrier to attendance, as evidenced by a 2010 Los Angeles School Attendance Review Board (SARB), which lists dental health, along with homelessness, in the top barriers to attendance.
- Oral disease is the most common illness for children.
Almost 60% of kids ages 5 to 17 have cavities - making tooth decay five times more common than asthma among children of this age. In California, the need for oral health is the most prevalent unmet health care need among children and adolescents. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS]. Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General (2000)
The Dental Hygiene program at West Los Angeles College collects data on its clinic patients to help instructors and students better understand their patient population. The data file we will use includes all 3421 patients seen from July 2017 through December 2019 in chronological order.
1. Does this file contain POPULATION data or SAMPLE data? What are the INDIVIDUALS?
Here is an Excel spreadsheet containing the patient data. Open the file.
2. List the eight variables provided in the spreadsheet. Identify each one as qualitative (categorical or nominal) or quantitative. Hint: It is not always clear! Explain your reasoning.
NOTE: the type of statistical analysis that is possible depends on the type of variable!
The variables are:
Date - qualitative (as given) but could be turned into quantitative (interval-level) data if desired - qualitative
Clinic Site - qualitative
Age Group - qualitative (because we are given groups, not individual ages)
ASA Status* - see below -these are qualitative categories, even though they have numerical labels
Periodontal Classification- qualitative
Treatment/Services Provided - qualitative
Calculus Code - We are given numbers from 1 to 5, so this could be considered quantitative (discrete, ordinal) data. But they could also be treated as qualitative (categories).
Fluoride Treatments (yes/no) - qualitative
3. Write at least three research questions that could be studied with these data. Write at least two more research questions that you would find interesting but that cannot be answered with this data set. Post your questions in the Discussion: Dental Hygiene and Social justice.
**The variable "ASA" refers to the American Society of Anesthetists' Physical Status Classification System, adapted for dental patient care.
ASA I patients are "healthy, non-smoking, with no or minimal alcohol use. All major organs and organ systems appear in good health. Patients are able to walk up one flight of stairs or two level city blocks without distress. Little or no anxiety. Little or no risk during dental treatment. This classification represents a 'green flag' for all dental treatment."
ASA II patients "have mild to moderate systemic disease or are healthy ASA I patients who demonstrate a more extreme anxiety and fear toward dentistry. ... Minimal risk during dental treatment. This classification represents a 'yellow flag' for treatment" indicating "to proceed with caution with all dental care."
ASA III patients "have one or more moderate to severe systemic diseases that limit activity, but is not incapacitating. ... If dental care is indicated, stress reduction protocol and other treatment modifications are indicated. This classification represents a 'yellow flag' ...indicating to proceed with extreme caution during dental treatment."
The clinics reporting here do not treat patients with an ASA level greater than III.