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Needed but couldn't afford dental care, past 12 months

Codes and Frequencies

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YBARDENTAL indicates whether, at any time during the past 12 months, sample adults and sample children needed dental care (including check-ups) but didn't get it because they couldn't afford it.

The Field Representative's Manual for 1999-2000 instructed interviewers to "include all types of financial limitations that prevented the person from getting medical services."

YBARDENTAL was one of a series of questions intended to determine if the family's access to health care was restricted because of financial concerns. The survey also collected information about whether, at any time in the past 12 months, sample adults and sample children needed but did not get eyeglasses (YBARGLASS), prescription medicines (YBARMEDS), mental health care or counseling (YBARMENTAL), follow-up care (YBARFOLLOW), and specialist care (YBARSPECL).

For related variables about access to dental care, please see DENTINT (interval since last dental visit) and DELAYDT (delayed getting dental care, past 12 months).


Changes in question wording and questionnaire design may affect comparability over time.

Available for 1993-1996, NOTDENTAL, which identifies persons who needed dental care but could not get it at some time during the past 12 months, covers some of the same ground as YBARDENTAL. However, the question wording for YBARDENTAL refers specifically to financial barriers to attaining dental care. The question wording for NOTDENTAL is more inclusive; non-financial reasons such as being "too busy" or "missed a bus" were also accepted as barriers to attaining dental care with this variable.

The NHIS questionnaire was substantially redesigned in 2019 to introduce a different data collection structure and new content. For more information on changes in terminology, universes, and data collection methods beginning in 2019, please see the user note.


  • 1997-2018: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children age 2 to 17.
  • 2019-2022: Sample adults age 18+ and sample children ages 1-17.


  • 1997-2020, 2022