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Am J Public Health. 2012 Nov;102(11):e77-83. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300965. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Visiting the emergency department for dental problems: trends in utilization, 2001 to 2008.

Author information

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA. Helen.lee@seattlechildrens.org

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We tested the hypothesis that between 2001 and 2008, Americans increasingly relied upon emergency departments (EDs) for dental care.

METHODS:

Data from 2001 through 2008 were collected from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS). Population-based visit rates for dental problems, and, for comparison, asthma, were calculated using annual US Census Bureau estimates. As part of the analysis, we described patient characteristics associated with large increases in ED dental utilization.

RESULTS:

Dental visit rates increased most dramatically for the following subpopulations: those aged 18 to 44 years (7.2-12.2 per 1000, P < .01); Blacks (6.0-10.4 per 1000, P < .01); and the uninsured (9.5-13.2 per 1000, P < .01). Asthma visit rates did not change although dental visit rates increased 59% from 2001 to 2008.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is an increasing trend in ED visits for dental issues, which was most pronounced among those aged 18 to 44 years, the uninsured, and Blacks. Dental visit rates increased significantly although there was no overall change in asthma visit rates. This suggests that community access to dental care compared with medical care is worsening over time.

PMID:
22994252
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3477981
Free PMC Article

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