Service provision trends between 1983-84 and 1993-94 in Australian private general practice

D Brennan, A J Spencer, F Szuster
Australian Dental Journal 1998, 43 (5): 331-6
Patterns of service provision are expected to change over time, reflecting the dynamics of factors such as oral health status and trends in population demographics. The aim of this study was to identify trends in service provision over time. Data were collected from a random sample of Australian dentists in 1983-84, 1988-89, and 1993-94. Changes observed between 1983-84 and 1993-94 included a trend towards increased proportions of patients in older age groups, decreases in the percentage of persons receiving restorative care (from 40.2 per cent to 37.7 per cent) and prosthodontic care (9.3 per cent to 8.0 per cent), and increases in diagnostic (from 38.7 per cent to 46.0 per cent), preventive (20.9 per cent to 25.2 per cent), endodontic (5.3 per cent to 7.1 per cent), and crown and bridge services (3.1 per cent to 4.7 per cent) per visit. Other services such as orthodontic and general/miscellaneous services showed increases over the first half of the study period, but these did not continue between 1988-89 and 1993-94. The total number of services per visit increased over the study period for adult patients. These findings indicate changing patterns of practice over time, consistent with an increasing orientation towards prevention of disease and maintenance of a natural dentition.

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