To associate self-assessed oral health and treatment need with clinically determined findings.
As part of the Finnish nationwide comprehensive Health 2000 Survey, the present cross-sectional study included dentate participants aged 30-64 years who self-assessed their oral health and treatment need in an interview and who underwent a clinical oral health examination (n = 4385). Self-assessed oral health and treatment need were used as subjective indicators. Clinically determined dental and periodontal status described objective dental and periodontal health and treatment need. The evaluation of relationships between subjective and objective findings was based on two-by-two tables and multivariate analyses.
The better the self-assessed oral health, the better the objective dental and periodontal health. Those reporting need for treatment more often had the objective need in terms of dental or periodontal treatment, also when controlling for background factors. Of the subjective indicators, good self-assessed oral health best reflected the absence of clinically determined dental or periodontal treatment need. Those who reported a need for treatment were mainly adults with an objective dental and periodontal treatment need.
Self-assessed good oral health is a fairly good estimate for the absence of clinically determined dental and periodontal treatment need. As implication for practice, self-assessed data could be used for screening purposes for oral health service planning and for priority allocation in large adult populations.