Data presented in this section were sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Patient Experience Survey (ABS Patient Experience Survey, various). Patient experience surveys obtain patients’ views and observations on aspects of health care services they have received. This includes their views on the accessibility of services and the physical environment, and aspects of the patient-clinician interaction.
This kind of information can be very useful for health services and others who are interested in driving continuous improvement in health services. Australia’s National Oral Health Plan 2015–2024 (COAG 2015) is underpinned by four guiding principles, including that services be accessible to all who need them, with respect for individuals needs and views.
- Dental professional: Includes dentists, dental hygienists and dental specialists such as periodontists, orthodontists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.
- Index of Relative Socio-economic Disadvantage: This is one of four Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs) complied by the ABS following each Census of Population and Housing. This index summarises attributes such as low income, low educational attainment, unemployment, jobs in relatively unskilled occupations and dwellings without motor vehicles. The first (or lowest) quintile refers to the most disadvantaged areas, while the fifth (or highest) quintile refers to the least disadvantaged areas.
- Long term health condition: A condition that has lasted or is likely to last six months or more.
- Self-assessed health: A person’s impression of their own health against a five-point scale from excellent through to poor.
Use of dental services
In 2021–22, around 1 in 2 (49%) Australians aged 15 years and over reported seeing a dental professional in the last 12 months
- The proportion of adults aged 15 years and over who saw a dental professional in the last 12 months remained relatively stable throughout the period 2011–12 to 2021–22, at around half of all adults.
- more females (53%) than males (46%) saw a dental professional
- people who self-assessed their health as fair/poor (46%) were less likely to have seen a dental professional than those who self-assessed their health as excellent/very good/good (50%)
- people living in areas of least socio-economic disadvantage (59%) were more likely to have seen a dental professional than those living in areas of most disadvantage (38%)
- people living in Major cities (51%) were more likely to have seen a dental professional than those living in Inner regional (45%) areas or Outer regional, Remote and very remote areas (43%).
Explore the data using the Patient experience interactive 1 below.