2009 statistics suggest that Minnesota hospitals had to deal with 20,000 emergency room visits solely related to dental pain. Throughout the nation, ignoring dental care until the boiling point of no return has been associated with an increase in ER visits. Dental neglect compounded by the fact that approximately one third Americans do not have dental insurance is the leading contributor to the trend (CBSNews).
Contributing Factors to ER Dental Visits
St. John's Hospital in Missouri and the Health Commission of Springfield and Green County recently reported an increase of ER visits related to dental emergencies. According to data released by the local Health Commission, 20 to 39 years old were primarily responsible for the increase in activity. Individuals in that age bracket accounted for over seven percent of all of the counties ER visits and for 37 percent of all uninsured visits. This is not the only report of hospitals being inundated with patients suffering from dental problems.
It is estimated that a total of 94 to 100 millions of Americans lack dental insurance as a cost-cutting measure are at the helm of the imbalance. While Health Care Reform is going to make dental care more accessible to children in need, it is doing very little to assist adults with their dental care for an dental infection between $450-$500 per case while other issues such as emergency treatment for an abscess can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Once an individual does make it to the ER they are generally treated with antibiotics and pain killers, but the dental issue causing the problem is not addressed. Aside from costs, lack of dental care has also been cited with putting lives at risk.
Preventative Dentistry Key to Reducing ER Visits
While some consumers may opt to skip visiting their dentist to save money, the move can have devastating effects over time. That is why individuals who insist on cutting corners must be especially dedicated to their oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to remove an access of oral bacteria and destructive plaque from a human mouth. Individuals are responsible for maintaining their oral health, if not, they increase their odds of developing issues including tooth erosion, cavities and gum disease.
Aside from those behaviors, individuals are encouraged to visit their dentist regularly (as determined by the dental care practitioner). Dentists are the first line of defense for catching dental problems early and implementing the right dental treatment as a solution. A dentists' proactive reaction to an oral condition can prevent the problem from evolving into an emergency situation and an unexpected trip to the ER.