Two measures of dental services provided in hospitals are reported in this section:
- potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) related to dental conditions.
- hospitalisations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic.
There is some overlap between these two indicators. Many PPHs will require a general anaesthetic. However, not all dental care provided under general anaesthetic is for potentially preventable care.
- Potentially preventable hospitalisations: dental conditions: hospitalisations for dental conditions that may not be preventable, but theoretically would not result in hospitalisation if adequate and timely care (usually non-hospital) was received.
- Separations: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients, which can be the total hospital stays (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or portions of hospital stays beginning or ending in a change of type care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation) that cease during a reference period. METEOR identifier: 270407.
- Separation rate: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients divided by the total number of persons in the population under study. Often presented as a rate per 1,000 or 10,000 members of a population. Rates may be crude or standardised.
Potentially preventable hospitalisations
Reducing the rates of potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs) due to dental conditions is one of the Key Performance Indicators of the National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 (COAG Health Council 2015). Hospital separation rates for PPHs provide important information about the extent to which timely and adequate non-hospital dental care has been provided. The rate of PPHs for dental conditions is influenced by a number of factors including:
- adequacy of preventive and primary care services
- prevalence of severe dental disease in the community
- availability and accessibility of appropriate community and hospital-based services (COAG Health Council 2015).
In Australia, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) remained relatively stable between 2010–11 and 2020–21, ranging from 2.6 to 3.2 per 1,000 population
- In 2020–21, the age-standardised rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions (per 1,000 population) was highest in South Australia (4.4 per 1,000 population) and lowest in Victoria and New South (2.6 and 2.9 per 1,000 population respectively).
- In 2020–21, about 83,000 hospitalisations for dental conditions could potentially have been prevented with earlier treatment.
Explore the number or rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions across Australia between 2010–11 and 2020–21 using the Hospitalisations interactive 1 below.