• Hospitalization;
  • adults;
  • dental conditions;
  • hospital system effects


Background: This analysis provides an insight into bed demand for adults for oral health related conditions in Western Australia.

Methods: Data were obtained from the Western Australian Hospital Morbidity Data System for the four financial years 1999–2000 to 2002–2003. This retrospective study analysed the principal diagnosis (ICD-10AM) obtained for all 53 646 adult patients diagnosed with an oral health related condition. Primary place of residency, gender and Indigenous status were analysed.

Results: More males (52.6 per cent) were hospitalized than females and Indigenous patients were hospitalized 1.5 times more than non-Indigenous patients. “Caries” were most common in non-Indigenous patients, with “jaw fractures” most prevalent in Indigenous patients. The majority of patients were hospitalized in a private metropolitan hospital (57.2 per cent). Total costs of hospitalization, both public and private, were in excess of $85 million over four years with $44 million in the public sector.

Conclusions: This study indicates the burden of oral health related conditions on the Western Australian population and the hospital system in terms of health and economical impact.