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Emergency Room Visits for Teeth Problems Cost $1 Billion Each Year


Posted on 4/20/2016 by Nic Grasvik
A red sign with white letters that says emergency on it.More people than ever are heading to hospital emergency room departments for problems with their teeth. In fact, a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association stated that ER visits for dental patients were costing almost $1 billion each year.

The majority of people seeking emergency care for oral health issues are people without insurance and those that are low-income.

Study Background
The study period went from 2008 to 2010 and looked at more than 382.8 million emergency department visits that happened in the U.S. during that time. This included just over 4 million patients who had dental conditions. About 100 of these dental patients even perished in the emergency room, and most of them didn't have any other condition.

The analysis evaluated patients with gum disease, lesions, cavities, and abscesses. It was found that about 57% of visits were due to cavities. Most patients (94%) were discharged after they received treatment, while only about 4% were admitted to the hospital. About 79% of these patients were either uninsured or only had pubic insurance like Medicaid.

What Does This Information Mean?
It is obvious that a lack of health insurance is extremely problematic when it comes to dental health. The Affordable Care Act does not provide or require dental coverage, so many people are forgoing dental evaluations and cleanings.

When a problem does pop up, they are more likely to go to the ER where their government-sponsored insurance will take care of their bill. For patients who don't have insurance at all, the ER is a better option than a trip to the dentist because they cannot be turned away for an inability to pay.

This study suggests that more funding and options are needed for periodic and preventive oral health care, as the results could lead to better dental health and significant savings.

Please contact us if you have any questions about dental emergency's.

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