© 2015 Australian Dental Association. Abstract Background The aims of this study were to assess the rates of hospitalizations for potentially preventable dental conditions over a 10-year period in Western Australia; to analyse trends over 10 years in rate changes of hopitalizations; and to analyse the mix of preventable dental conditions by age group and Aboriginal status. Methods The principal diagnosis, as classified by the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10AM), was used to select hospitalization data for all patients who were discharged from hospital in Western Australia for the financial years 1999-2000 to 2008-2009, for a potentially preventable oral health condition. Results Over a 10-year period more than 65 000 people were hospitalized. Population rates of hospitalization increased significantly over the period for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population groups. Admission rates were higher for Aboriginal people. Children under 14 were more likely to be admitted; the most common condition that required hospitalization was dental caries, and the highest rates of hospitalization were for those from the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas. Conclusions These hospitalizations remain a considerable and increasing financial burden on health budgets. An increase in efforts is necessary to curb escalating government health expenditure by reducing avoidable and preventable oral health related hospitalizations.