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Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2016 Mar 30;8:51-6. doi: 10.2147/CCIDE.S101195. eCollection 2016.

Determining the rate of follow-up after hospital emergency department visits for dental conditions.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA; Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Emergency Department, Columbus, OH, USA; Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
3
Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
4
Clinic Administration and Patient Care, College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Emergency department (ED) visits for dental reasons continue to impact EDs nationwide. This investigation determined the rate of follow-up in an emergency dental clinic (EDC) after hospital ED visits for nontraumatic dental conditions.

METHODS:

This prospective investigation reports the number of patients who presented to an ED for nontraumatic dental conditions and the rate of follow-up at an EDC. Upon ED discharge, patients were provided instructions to follow-up for low-cost care at the EDC. Telephone contact was attempted following failed referrals. Descriptive statistics were reported for comparing referral sources and demographic trends.

RESULTS:

Two hundred and forty-seven referrals were made and 31% followed up for definitive treatment at the EDC. More referrals were made on weekends than on weekdays. Failed referrals were unreachable by telephone in 75% of cases. Tooth extraction was the most common treatment rendered in the EDC. Of the ED patients who accessed EDC care, 14% became comprehensive patients in the EDC's regular dental clinic.

CONCLUSION:

Less than one-third of ED referrals to the EDC followed up for definitive care when provided an opportunity to do so, and 75% of referrals were unreachable by telephone in the week following the ED dental visit.

KEYWORDS:

access to care; dental emergency treatment; dental health services; emergencies; health services accessibility

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