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J Public Health Dent. 2013 Summer;73(3):210-6. doi: 10.1111/jphd.12015. Epub 2013 Apr 7.

Emergency room visits for dental problems among working poor Canadians.

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Discipline of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.



To explore the risk of visiting hospital emergency rooms (ERs) for dental problems not associated with trauma among a sample of working poor Canadians.


Data stem from a telephone survey administered between March and August 2007 of working poor Canadians aged 18-64 years. Logistic regressions were employed to determine the predictors of reporting a visit to an ER for dental problems not associated with trauma.


Approximately 6.1 percent of the sample reported visiting an ER in the past for a dental problem not associated with trauma. Those who were publicly insured, reported poor oral health, experienced a bed day due to dental pain, had dependent children, were lone parents, had competing needs, a history of receiving welfare, a history of an inability to afford dental care, and a perceived need for dental treatment were all more likely to have reported an ER visit. When adjusting for all variables, having experienced a bed day due to dental pain and a history of an inability to afford dental care were the dominant predictors of this outcome. A higher but not significantly different prevalence of ER visits for dental problems was found among the working poor sample when compared with the general Canadian population (6.1 percent versus 5.4 percent, P > 0.05).


Further research is needed in order to provide insight into the reasons why the working poor population is seeking dental care in hospital settings.


dental health services; emergency service; hospital/utilization; socioeconomic factors

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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