For all persons, DVCHGTOT captures the sum of fully established charges during the year for dental care, including care provided by general dentists, dental hygienists, dental technicians, dental surgeons, orthodontists, endodontists, and periodontists. This variable does not usually reflect actual payments made for services, which can be substantially lower due to factors such as negotiated discounts, bad debt, and free care. For more information on how MEPS collects expenditure and charge data, please refer to our user note on medical expenditures.
For a small proportion of sample persons, the sum of the general dentist (DVGTOTVIS) and orthodontist visit (DVOTOTVIS) variables may not be equal to the total number of dental visits. This result can only occur for persons who were reported to have seen both a general dentist and orthodontist in the same visit(s). When this occurred, expenditures for the visit were included as orthodontist expenses (DVOEXTOT) but not as general dentist expenses (DVGEXTOT).
Variables related to total annual health care charges by source of payment, total annual health care charges by type of medical service, and analogous information for health care expenditures are also available. Please refer to our user note on medical expenditures for a list of these variables.
DVCHGTOT is a 6-digit numeric variable.
- 1996-2019: All persons.
- 1996-2019 : PERWEIGHT