The presenting complaints of low income adults for emergency dental care : an analysis of 35,000 episodes in Victoria, Australia

S. Mcguire, P. Bacchia, C. Khew, H. Marchant, C. Riley, Estie Kruger, J. Hoogeveen, P. Johnstone, B. Lee, K. Morris, K. Smith, Marc Tennant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective This study examined the mix of presenting problems faced by a large diverse dental service treating low-income Australian adults and provides a basis for communities to understand and manage demand for dental services. Design A retrospective analysis in a state-wide multi-centre dental health service. Data for all patients (in all public adult dental clinics in the state of Victoria during May-Aug 2005) who used the emergency services in a 12 week period were recorded and analysed. A triage question tree was developed and embedded into a neural network based computer triage tool. Results Approximately 52% of low income adults presenting for emergency treatment required treatment on the day of triage. The main problem was with natural teeth (89.6%). Of those with natural teeth problems, 41.3% had pain disturbing their sleep patterns and 14.7% had experienced a swelling. Metropolitan patients accessed the services 2.3 times more than rural patients. Conclusion These data clearly highlight that there is significant opportunity to reduce nearly 48% of on-day demand for emergency dental care through the application of appropriately clinical based triage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-147
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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