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In 2003 the Norwegian Board of Health investigated supply of dental services, in particular whether people in the priority groups receive the dental services that they are entitled to.

According to the Dental Health Services Act, there are five priority groups. These are children and young people aged 0-18 (Group A), mentally handicapped adults (Group B), elderly people, people with long-standing illness and people with a disability pension who are either living in an institution or receiving home nursing care (Group C), and young people aged 19 20 (Group D). In addition, the county authorities can decide to give priority to other groups (Group E). The county authorities can also provide dental services for adults, who pay for their treatment, if the needs of people in the priority groups have been met.

The sources for the data are Statistics Norway (KOSTRA: Municipality-State-Reporting and population statistics) and the Norwegian Board of Health (annual reports for the public dental services).

This report shows that the proportion of people under supervision of the public dental services shows great variation, both for the different priority groups, and for the different counties.

The Norwegian Board of Health believes that the probability that people in the priority groups do not receive an adequate service is greatest in the counties where the proportion of people under supervision is below the mean for the whole country.

The statistics clearly show that manpower level is not the only factor that that can explain the differences between the counties in the level of dental services offered to people in the priority groups. Other factors, such as organizational factors and geographical factors, also influence service provision.