Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Operative Dentistry

First Advisor

Hand, Jed

First Committee Member

Damiano, Peter C

Second Committee Member

Cobb, Deborah S

Third Committee Member

Denehy, Gerald E

Fourth Committee Member

Qian, Fang


This study is aimed to better understand how and why people choose dental school faculty as their oral healthcare provider. Increasing financial constrains in the U.S. dental schools has led dental schools to find an alternative funding sources and revenues from dental school faculty practice can be one of them. To effectively promote faculty practice, it is necessary to understand how and why people choose dental school faculty as their oral care provider. In addition, it is important to differentiate characteristics of comprehensive care patients and limited care patients since dental school faculty practices have a higher proportion of specialists. A survey of 1150 dental school faculty practice patients who recently chose their dentist was conducted and 221 responded. Information sources highly used and rated included other dentist, friends, family, clinic website, the Internet, and the insurance directory. Dentist related attributes that were perceived important included quality of care, professional competence of dentist, and explanation of treatment/you participate in the treatment decision. Dental practice related attributes that were perceived important included ability to get appointments at convenient times, reasonable waiting time to get appointments, and attitude/helpfulness of staff. Among the respondents, 121 pursued a comprehensive care and 93 pursued a limited care. The two groups differed in terms of demographics, other characteristics, and dentist selection. The comprehensive care patients were younger, highly educated, related to healthcare related profession, and to have private dental insurance (p<0.001). The comprehensive care patients were more likely to use and highly rate information sources such as clinic website, the Internet, and the insurance directory (p<0.001). They put more value on attributes such as the dentist is in my insurance network and convenient physical location (p<0.001). This study has shown that traditionally popular (family, friends) and newly emerging information sources (the Internet, clinic website, and insurance directory) were used and perceived important by dental school faculty practice patients. A dental school or dentist can use this study's findings to promote their practice to select appropriate communication channels and focus on attributes that dental consumers value the most. It is also important to apply different strategies to different consumer groups.


Dental School Clinic, Dental School Faculty Practice, Healthcare Marketing


ix, 112 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-112).


Copyright 2011 MyungJoo Kim