Lack of communication between the medical and dental professions impacts healthcare quality, especially in hospitals. Different authors have described the oral status of inpatients. Following that line of research, the current study set the following aims: to characterize the dynamics of medical-dental healthcare interaction at a university hospital and to describe oral status and identify need for dental treatment in a sample of 150 inpatients at a hospital in Buenos Aires City, Argentina.A descriptive study was conducted on patients who were referred to dentistry by their physicians. The following variables were surveyed: personal data, medical history, oral health status, need for dental treatment and oral self-care habits.Patient median age was 60 years, 60.7% were male, 68.7% had diseases of the circulatory system, average number of medications per day was 7, of which 28.1% were for the cardiovascular system. Seventy percent of the referrals came from the Cardiology Service and 48% were requested for preoperative evaluation. Percentage of visible plaque was 73.6% and bleeding on probing 75.4%. DMFT was 19.9; 57.3% of patients had periodontal pockets deeper than 4 mm, and 97.2% required surgery, endodontic or prosthetic rehabilitation treatments. The frequency of daily brushing decreased during hospitalization: 28.7% reported not brushing daily and only 5.3% reported brushing 3 times a day. Referrals to dentistry came mainly from the cardiology service in pre-surgical situations. Inpatients presented high levels of oral pathology and need for dental treatment.