The overall scope of dental health reimbursements among people aged 21 and over has changed a lot over the ten-year period (2011-2021) that these analysis covers. From 2013 to 2021, the prevalence of dental health reimbursements increased from 9.6 to 14.4 per cent of the adult population, while amounts paid increased from NOK 1.16 billion to NOK 1.95 billion in the same period. The increase in the number of recipients was relatively steady from year to year, while the payments have alternated between increase and decrease in the years after 2017. This means that the average amount per recipient has overall decreased somewhat through the period 2014-2020, while there was a clear increase in 2021. This trend in the cost is probably connected to several changes in the regulations of the reimbursement scheme, with more detailed requirements for documentation and a reduced possibility for expensive treatment choices. The upswing in 2021 may be due to catching up with a backlog from the previous year, when the corona pandemic led to an almost complete shutdown of the dental health service for some weeks during the spring of 2020.

The variation in treatment needs between different age groups is believed to be the most important reason why both the proportion who have received reimbursement over the course of a year and the average amounts increase with age from the 30s up to the 70s, so that a lower proportion applies of the group over 80 years of age. The age pattern has not changed significantly from year to year. Also, the proportion who received reimbursement are consistently greater among women than men.

Data from recent years confirm several of the socio-economic and regional differences between the recipients of dental health reimbursements that were shown in the previous works. In the presentation this time, however, greater emphasis has been placed on showing that the socio-economic differences change a lot across the age scale. Among people between the ages of 21 and 60, the proportion who received reimbursements was greater among benefit recipients and among those with low education than among others in the same age group. When it comes to income differences, the picture is more complex. On the one hand, there was mostly a decreasing proportion of recipients with increasing income among young adults and middle-aged. At the same time, there was a small proportion of recipients among those with the very lowest incomes, particularly among men. Among the elderly, people with a high level of education, the highest incomes and who did not receive benefits had the largest proportion of recipients of reimbursements.

Divided by regional characteristics, the results show that the proportion of recipients is greater among people who live in more central areas with high dental coverage than among residents in less central areas with low dental coverage. This may indicate that the dental coverage is important for variation in the receipt of reimbursements.

When the adult recipients of dental health reimbursements are followed over the entire ten-year period, they make up a total of 1.85 million, or just over 38 per cent of the adult population in the same period.

Since there is no information about dental health, the use of dental care services and the unmet need for dental services, it is impossible to assess whether the proportion of refunds received in different socio-economic and regional groups corresponds with the actual needs of dental treatment in these groups.