2. Materials and Methods
- Scheduled dental encounter: An encounter between a patient and an oral health professional that occurs within time slots for scheduled one-on-one visits (i.e., “Patient X has an appointment with Dr Y at hh:mm, mm/dd/yyyy”).
- Walk-in dental encounter: An encounter between a patient and an oral health professional that occurs within specific time slots for unscheduled visits (i.e., Patient X goes to Dr Y’s office, who “consults without appointment every Thursday between hh:mm and hh:mm”).
- Dental emergency: Any situation usually perceived by both patients and healthcare professionals as of sufficient concern to require a quick intervention (i.e., within 24 h) [12,13]. For example, dental emergencies such as acute dental pain, orofacial trauma, acute infections, active bleeding, or loss of prosthetic anterior teeth .
- Non-emergency dental situations: All other situations—excluding (c)—when patients perceive a need for any dental health service, ranging from a relative dental emergency (e.g., problem with prosthetic posterior teeth or chronic pain ) to a dental check-up.
2.2. Preliminary Quantitative Survey
2.3. Study Design and Sampling Strategy
2.4. Ethical Considerations
2.5. Data Collection
2.6. Data Management and Analysis
2.7. Description of the Sample
3.1. Walk-in Dental Consultation is Important for Emergency Situations
3.2. WIDENESS Could be a Way to Improve Access to Oral Care in Non-Emergency Situations
3.3. WIDENESS Has Potential Drawbacks
4.1. Summary and Key Findings
4.2. Strengths and Limitations
4.3. Interpretation and Implications
4.4. Controversies Raised by the Study and Future Research Directions
Conflicts of Interest
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|P1||Male||67 years old|
|P3||Female||60 years old|
|P4||Female||26 years old|
|P5||Female||71 years old|
|P6||Female||61 years old|
|P7||Male||71 years old|
|P8||Female||72 years old|
|P9||Female||77 years old|
|P10||Female||37 years old|
|P11||Female||71 years old|
|Walk-in consultations as the only way of consulting||P1: First visit because of an emergency, second visit because I had to go there, a third one to settle what I owed, and then he never saw me again. […]. Usually when we go to see them, that’s because we’re not doing very well.|
P4: I do everything at the last minute, all in a hurry.
|Walk-in dental consultations are integrated into emergency consultations||P4: what’s super cool is that they performed the procedure now right away because […], you know, I was really in pain.|
|What is not urgent can wait for an appointment (no need for walk-in consultation for routine dental treatments)||P9: The scale removal for example … no … I think we can wait a little bit [for an appointment]. We can wait because we can see it coming.|
|Facilitating access to care relative to time constraints||P4: In fact, since I don’t have a lot of free time because of my job—I’m free from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.—I tell myself I have my afternoon there […], I’ll wait in the waiting room. I know that I’ll be received […] and that’s it …|
P10: It means that when you have a need, you can find a solution […] in a quite reasonable time.
|Reduction of dentist-related apprehension||Interviewer: If a dentist offered walk-in visits in non-emergency situations, would it help patients come to the dentist more often?|
P6: I think so.
P6: I don’t know, to [reduce] the fear of the appointment, the fear of the dentist …
|Better overall follow-up in the pathway of care||P10: I think that if there were more ease, accessibility [thanks to] walk-in dentists, […] there would be less problems with follow-up care afterwards.|
|Complementary nature of consultations with and without appointment||P5: That is to say, it’s nice on the one hand to go to consultations without an appointment, and it’s nice to have appointments too.|
P2: The fact that there are also some kinds of consultations without appointment, yeah it might be much better.
|Fear about long waiting times||P1: I don’t like it too much because this is the day when everyone arrives and then you realize that you are the 78th to be taken … or it is necessary to arrive 4 h before the opening of the practice to be sure in the first to be received. So I definitely prefer the appointment consultations.|
P7: if, on the other hand, I arrive in a waiting room full of people like me hoping to be received quickly, the goal would not be reached.
|Fear of an unsuccessful appointment||P11: Well, provided that we don’t go [to the dentist] for nothing.|
P7: I [prefer] appointments, hoping that people will be on time rather than going there and wait in vain.
|Scepticism about the concept (no room for other types of consultations)||P9: In principle, this is not how it works.|
P5: [People] have a toothache: they come to be cared for … and then we never see them again. If you go to an appointment, you know there will be a follow-up. I think it’s not the same thing.
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