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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Dental general anaesthetic trends among Australian children

Lisa M Jamieson* and Kaye F Roberts-Thomson

Author Affiliations

Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health, The University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia

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BMC Oral Health 2006, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1472-6831-6-16

Published: 21 December 2006

Abstract

Background

Children receive dental general anaesthetic (DGA) care when standard dental treatment is not possible. Receipt of DGA care is resource-intensive and not without risk. This study examines trends in receipt of DGA care among Australian children.

Methods

Child DGA data were obtained from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Hospital Morbidity Database for 1993–2004. Poisson regression modelling was used to examine DGA rates in relation to age, sex, Indigenous status, location, year and procedure.

Results

There was a 3-fold increase in DGA rates from 1993–1994 (215.8 ± 2.9 per 100,000) to 2003–2004 (731.4 ± 5.3 per 100,000) (P < 0.001). Across all years, children who were aged 0–4 years, male or rural/remote-dwelling had higher DGA rates than their 5–9-year-old, female or metropolitan-dwelling counterparts respectively. There was a 7.0-fold increase in the rate of Indigenous admissions from 1993–1994 (116.5 ± 10.2 per 100,000) to 2003–2004 (806.6 ± 25.7 per 100,000). Extraction rates increased 4.9-fold from 1993–1994 (109.2 ± 2.9 per 100,000) to 2003–2004 (540.0 ± 4.5 per 100,000), while restoration rates increased 3.3-fold in the same observation period (139.5 ± 2.3 per 100,000 in 1993–1994 to 462.6 ± 4.2 per 100,000 in 2003–2004). For admissions in which one or more extractions were received, Indigenous rates were 47% greater than non-Indigenous rates after adjusting for other covariates.

Conclusion

Child DGA rates in Australia are increasing. Children who are pre-school-aged, male, Indigenous or living in a rural/remote location are disproportionally represented among those receiving such care. There are higher rates of extractions as opposed to more conservative procedures, particularly among Indigenous children.