Oral Health

Oral Health Categories

General Care

Routine dental care which may include preventive care, scaling and cleaning, fillings, extractions and dentures. Treatment within 2 years desirable.

Clinical Assessment

Brief examination by a dentist, dental specialist or dental prosthetist to determine which waiting list is appropriate for a patient's clinical needs. Assessment within 1 month desirable.

Priority Care

Specialised dental care, such as dental treatment related to certain medical conditions and complete dentures, and dental care provided by dental specialists, such as orthodontics, oral surgery and oral pathology.

General Anaesthetic

General or specialist dental care provided under general anaesthetic in a hospital theatre or day surgery clinic.


Patients are only allocated to the Priority Care and General Anaesthetic waiting lists following a clinical assessment by a dentist or dental specialist. Patients are assigned to an urgency category according to their condition to ensure they can be treated in order of priority. There are three urgency categories, where 1 is most urgent and 3 is least urgent.

Category 1

Treatment within 1 month desirable where a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point that it may become a medical emergency, or failure to provide dental care would delay the commencement or progress of urgent medical treatment.

Category 2

Treatment within 3 months desirable for a condition causing some pain, physical or social dysfunction, or disability but which is not likely to deteriorate quickly or become a medical emergency.

Category 3

Treatment within 12 months desirable for a condition causing minimal or no pain, dysfunction or disability, which is unlikely to deteriorate quickly and which does not have the potential to become a medical emergency.

Waiting list indicators

Waiting time

How long are people waiting for dental care?
This indicator shows the amount of time, in months, that people have been on a dental waiting list. Waiting times are shown as different time periods which vary in length depending on the waiting list type and category. Waiting time is measured from the date a person is allocated to a waiting list to the day they are given an appointment, either to commence treatment at a public dental clinic or to collect a voucher for treatment at a private dental practice.

Number of patients waiting

How many people needed dental care?
This indicator shows the number of patients on a dental waiting list on the last day of the month listed in the heading. Patients are grouped by waiting time periods. This is a measure of the demand for public dental services.

% waiting within the recommended waiting time

Are patient waiting times appropriate?
This indicator shows the percentage of patients on a dental waiting list who waited for less than the recommended time frame. The higher the percentage, the better the performance.

Number of patients starting treatment

How many waiting list patients started treatment during the month and came off the waiting list?
This indicator shows the number of patients who were removed from a dental waiting list during the month because they started their dental treatment. Patients are grouped by how long they were waiting on the list before commencing treatment. This indicator only shows the number who started treatment during the month. It does not show the number of people who received ongoing treatment at the clinic during the month. The number of weeks or months taken to complete dental care for each patient depends on their oral health needs and the amount and type of treatment required.

% treated within the recommended waiting time

Were patients treated within an appropriate timeframe?
This indicator shows how well public dental clinics performed at providing dental care within the recommended timeframe for each waiting list type and urgency category. The higher the percentage, the better the performance.

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Did you know?

More than 380,000 people received free dental care from public oral health service in Queensland in 2016/17.