Background: Increasing awareness of the interactions between oral and general health has led to the establishment of Special Needs Dentistry as a dental specialty in many countries. This specialty assists with the interdisciplinary management of patients between the medical and dental professions particularly those with complex medical problems, intellectual and physical impairments, and psychiatric conditions that may affect their oral health or the manner in which they receive treatment. However, little is known about the utilisation of specialised services provided to facilitate individuals with these needs. Aim: The aim of this study was to understand current utilisation of hospital-based dental services established to provide medically-necessary dental care. Methods: A retrospective review of the demographics and medical status of patients treated at referral hospital-based dental clinics in the state of Tasmania was completed for the month of August 2015. Results: Patients treated at these units had a variety of medical backgrounds. Most (46.4%) were referred from medical professionals within the hospital. On average, patients treated at these units had 2.56 medical conditions and were taking 3.59 medications each. Many of these were chronic medical conditions known to have an interaction with oral health. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the growing recognition of dynamic interactions between oral and general health and the importance of these hospitalbased units and interprofessional relationships in providing timely and holistic health care to these patients.
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