This study shows that public dental patients have significantly worse oral health than the Australian population.
The higher prevalence of an inadequate dentition, and the increased presence of decayed teeth and periodontal pockets suggests that this low income group’sdisadvantage in oral health status is related to lower socioeconomic status and ability to access dental services.
Public dental patients: oral health of those attending for emergency care compared with those attending for general care
Public dental care patients who attend for emergency care typically attend for relief of pain, while general care patients have appointments after coming off a general care waiting list.
The results were mixed.
- A higher percentage of patients attending for emergency care had no natural teeth (8.1%) compared to general care patients (3.9%).
- Among patients with teeth, a higher proportion of those attending for general care had fewer than 21 teeth (38.6%) compared to those attending for emergency care (35.3%).
- Patients attending for emergency care were more likely to have decayed teeth (49.9% compared to 42.2% for general care) and had a higher average number of decayed teeth (average of 1.9 compared with 1.3).
- • General care patients, however, had a higher average DMFT (number of decayed, missing and filled teeth)—15.9 compared to 13.0 for emergency care patients.
- There was no difference between emergency and general care public dental patients in the prevalence of 6+ mm periodontal pockets; but general care patients had a higher prevalence of 4+ mm periodontal pockets (30.5% compared with 24.4%). Public dental patients: oral health compared with Australian population
- Public dental patients were much more likely than the Australian population in general to have fewer than 21 teeth — 35.3% of public dental patients attending for emergency care, and 38.6% of those attending for general care, compared with 11.4% for the Australian population.
- The prevalence of dental decay was also higher for public dental patients— 49.9% of those attending for emergency care and 42.2% of those attending for general care, compared with 25.5% of the Australian population.
- Public dental patients were more likely to have periodontal pockets of 4+ mm— 24.4% of emergency care patients and 30.5% general care patients, compared with 19.8% for the Australian population.
ISBN 978 1 74024 863 1
AIHW Cat. No. DEN 192