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Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2012 Jan 16;4:1-7. doi: 10.2147/CCIDEN.S28168. Print 2012.

Patient characteristics and trends in nontraumatic dental condition visits to emergency departments in the United States.

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1
Department of Clinical Services, Marquette University School of Dentistry, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We examined trends and patient characteristics for non-traumatic dental condition (NTDC) visits to emergency departments (EDs), and compared them to other ED visit types, specifically non-dental ambulatory care sensitive conditions (non-dental ACSCs) and non-ambulatory care sensitive conditions (non-ACSCs) in the United States.

METHODS:

We analyzed data from the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care survey (NHAMCS) for 1997 to 2007. We performed descriptive statistics and used a multivariate multinomial logistic regression to examine the odds of one of the three visit types occurring at an ED. All analyses were adjusted for the survey design.

RESULTS:

NTDC visits accounted for 1.4% of all ED visits with a 4% annual rate of increase (from 1.0% in 1997 to 1.7% in 2007). Self-pay patients (32%) and Medicaid enrollees (27%) were over-represented among NTDC visits compared to non-dental ACSC and non-ACSC visits (P < 0.0001). Females consistently accounted for over 50% of all types of ED visits examined. Compared to whites, Hispanics had significantly lower odds of an NDTC visit versus other visit types (P < 0.0001). Blacks had significantly lower odds of making NDTC visits when compared to non-dental ACSC visits only (P < 0.0001). Compared to private insurance enrollees, Medicaid and self-pay patients had 2-3 times the odds of making NTDC visits compared to other visit types.

CONCLUSION:

Nationally, NTDC visits to emergency departments increased over time. Medicaid and self-pay patients had significantly higher odds of making NDTC visits.

KEYWORDS:

adults; dental disease; dental utilization; emergency service

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