Increase in number of dental patients using ER departments in the USA
There has been a significant increase in the number of people visiting Emergency Rooms for dental treatment in the USA, according to data from the American Dental Association.
The most recent statistics from the ADA show that the number of people seeking urgent treatment for dental issues rose from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2012.
Dr George Kushner, director of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Louisville, said that the situation is getting worse year on year, as more and more people struggle to afford routine dental care. People who don’t have insurance or access to affordable dental treatment wind up in the ER because they get to a point where there is nowhere else to go. The USA may be one of the most powerful and advanced countries in the world, but the reality is that people still die from dental issues and this is largely because they can’t afford insurance and this means that dental conditions get worse and eventually become serious health problems, which require urgent medical treatment.
Reports show that the US healthcare system spends more than $1.6 billion per year treating dental patients, despite the fact that services are very limited for dental patients at ER departments. Often, with dental problems, doctors can only provide short-term pain relief and antibiotics to fight infection and subsequent dental treatment is still required.
Figures show that over a third of adults don’t have dental insurance and adult dental care is not covered by the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid helps some, but the demand far outweighs the supply and charity events are often oversubscribed, with hundreds of people willing to wait in line for hours just to see a dentist.Join this Discussion