Objectives: There is little research comparing patient trust in dental and medical providers (DPs and MPs), despite influences of trust on care and outcomes and the evolving overlap between provider scopes of practice. We compared trust in DPs and MPs among hospitalized patients at a major urban academic medical center and explored associations between trust and patient characteristics.
Methods: Between July 2015 and November 2017, we interviewed 2,448 adult UCM inpatients with a questionnaire that asked about their health and their trust in DPs and MPs. We used logistic regression models with interaction effects to explore associations between high trust and age, gender, insurance, race, ethnicity, education, marital status, living alone, self-reported overall oral health (SOOH), self-reported overall systemic health, and specific components of oral and systemic health.
Results: MP and DP trust were strongly associated: 1,569 (64%) reported high trust in DPs, 1,860 (76%) in MPs, and 1,424 (58%) in both. Trust and SOOH were significantly associated in all models: high trust in one or neither provider type was associated with increased odds of fair/poor SOOH (OR>1.81, p<=0.02). Models suggested other significant associations with trust, including self-reported overall systemic health, race/ethnicity, Medicaid coverage, marital status, reported inability to obtain needed dental care, and self-reported oral health components such as tooth mobility due to decay.
Conclusions: Trust in DPs and MPs were strongly associated and were also associated with self-reported overall oral health. Future research should explore the oral health effects of interventions to improve trust in both provider types.