Trends in hospital dental care receipt among Australian children

Objectives: To investigate trends in receipt of hospital dental care among Australian children.

Methods: Hospital dental separation data for children aged 0-9 years were obtained from the AIHW Hospital Morbidity Database for the years 1993-2004. Data were collected for administrative purposes and recorded in standardised ICD-9-AM and ICD-10-AM codes. The receipt of extractions and restorations was examined across the years in relation to age, sex and Indigenous status. Rates were generated and poisson regression used to test for trends.

Results: There was a three-fold increase in the rate of child hospital dental separations from 1993-1994 (215.8 \xB1 2.9 per 100,000) to 2003-2004 (731.4 \xB1 5.3 per 100,000) (P<0.001). Higher rates were observed among 0-4-year-olds than 5-9-year-olds until 2001-2002, after which the opposite was true (P<0.05). Across all years, males had higher rates than females (P<0.05). The rate of restoration receipt was greater than the rate for extractions until 1997-1998 (P<0.05), after which the reverse occured (P<0.05). From 1997-1998 Indigenous children had higher hospital dental separation rates than their non-Indigenous counterparts (P<0.05), with the Indigenous rate increasing seven-fold from 1993-1994 (116.5 \xB1 10.2 per 100,000) until 2003-2004 (806.6 \xB1 25.7 per 100,000) (P<0.001). Among Indigenous separations, rates were higher for both receipt of extractions and restorations among 0-4 year-olds than their 5-9-year old counterparts across all years (P<0.05). In 2003-2004, Indigenous children aged 0-4 years had 1.9 times the rate of extraction receipt (877.7 \xB1 38.0 per 100,000) than similarly-aged non-indigenous children (455.3 \xB1 6.1 per 100,000) (P<0.05).

Conclusions: Child hospital dental separation rates in Australia are increasing, with pre-school Indigenous children being disproportionally represented among those receiving such care. The disparities in hospital dental care receipt among Indigenous and non-Indigenous children is a public health issue.

L Jamieson*, KF Roberts-Thomson

Presented at the 84th General Session and Exhibition of the IADR, 28 June – 1 July 2006, Brisbane Australia

Note: * indicates presenter

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