Restorative service trends in private general practice in Australia: 1983-1999

Objectives. Restorative services are a major component of the annual workload of a dentist, but are undergoing a period of change as population oral health continues to improve and restorative materials and techniques are developed. The aim of this study was to examine trends in the provision of restorative services over a 15-year period spanning 1983-84 to 1998-99.Methods. A series of cross-sectional surveys was performed in 1983-84, 1988-89, 1993-94 and 1998-99 with response rates of over 70%. Data were collected by a mailed survey from a random sample of dentists from each state/territory in Australia. Dentists provided data on patients treated on a typical clinical day from which annual rates of provision of services per dentist were derived for restorative and related services.Results. The overall number of annual restorative services provided per dentist declined over the four points of the study period. This trend reflected a steady decline in the annual number of amalgams provided per dentist. However, composite resins increased between 1993-94 and 1998-99, while glass ionomers, other-restorative services, crowns and fissure sealants all showed increases over the first three points of the study period.Conclusions. Over the study period the highest provision of restorative and related services changed from amalgams to composite resins, reflecting trends towards improved oral health and development of restorative materials. The decline in restorative services was not uniform across all age groups of patients, with increases observed among 45-64 and 65+ year olds, reflecting increased retention of teeth among adults.

Brennan DS, Spencer AJ

Journal of Dentistry 2003 Feb;31(2):143-51.

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