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Diagnostic services in Australia: service rates and characteristics of patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

D. S. Brennan, M. Balasubramanian, A. J. Spencer

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-303
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Issue number3
Early online date2 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: Diagnostic services are the most common area of dental service in Australia. The objective was to investigate differences in services per visit for examinations and radiographs in relation to the characteristics of patients receiving these services in terms of age and gender, aspects of visiting such as dental insurance and reasons for visit, and oral health such as number of teeth and presence of decay.$n$nMETHODS: A random sample of Australian dentists was surveyed in 2009-2010. Data on diagnostic services and patient characteristics were collected from a service log.$n$nRESULTS: A total of 1148 dentists responded (response rate = 67%). Models adjusted for age and gender of patients showed that rates [Rate Ratio, 95% CI] of examinations were higher for insured patients [1.13; 1.06-1.21], while rates of radiographs were higher for emergency visits [1.25; 1.11-1.48]. Patients with 20 or more teeth had higher rates for examinations [1.15; 1.01-1.32] and radiographs [1.28; 1.02-1.60]. Decayed teeth were associated with lower examination rates [0.70; 0.65-0.76] but higher rates of radiographs [1.34; 1.16-1.55].$n$nCONCLUSIONS: The finding that number of teeth was associated with higher rates of examinations and radiographs suggests that retention of teeth could be influencing the increasing rates of diagnostic services in Australia.

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