Dental hospitalization trends in Western Australian children under the age of 15 years: a decade of population-based study

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Background and Aim.

This study analyzed a decade of dental admission patterns in Western Australian children under the age of 15 years, examining associations with sociodemographic characteristics and with particular focus on dental decay and Indigenous children.


This retrospective study analyzed the data obtained for 43,937 child patients under the age of 15 years hospitalized for an oral-health-related condition, as determined by principal diagnosis (ICD-10AM). Primary place of residency, age, gender, insurance status and Indigenous status were also analyzed.


‘Dental caries’ and ‘embedded and impacted teeth’ were the most common reasons for hospitalization among children under the age of 15 years. ‘Dental caries’ were most common in non-Indigenous patients, with ‘pulp and periapical’ most prevalent in Indigenous patients. The age-standardized rate (ASR) of hospitalization for Indigenous children in the last decade increased to reach that of non-Indigenous children in 2009. Total DRG costs of hospitalization, both public and private, were in excess of AUS $92 million over 10 years.


This study indicates the burden of oral-health-related conditions on Western Australian children and the hospital system, in terms of health and economical impact.

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