As more Americans are negatively impacted by the economy, there has been a rise in visits to the emergency room for emergency dental care. The startling activity first made the news in 2009 as Minnesota hospitals reported dealing with 20,000 dental emergencies and over the past few years, more states have noted an uptick in the tendancy.
The trend is being linked to individuals simply ignoring dental care until the point of no return. Each and every person has their own reasons for skipping oral hygiene and dentist office visits including (but not limited to) time, dental anxiety, lack of dental insurance, lack of cash and just plain ignorance. Regardless of the reasoning behind the neglect, the behavior has lead to sharp increase in ER visits for dental problems, a whopping 16 percent (from 2006 to 2009) according to the Pew Center on the States.
Florida ER Visits=$90 Million
Florida has the title of being the sunshine state and that moniker has helped the area become home to countless snowbirds, immigrants and Americans looking to live their lives minus snow. As a result over 19,057,500 people call the state home and hundreds of thousands of them have ended up in the emergency room for dental problems. That has cost hospitals and taxpayers a whopping $90 million (2010).
The findings have come after researchers from Florida Public Health Institute’s Oral Health Coalition analyzed billing codes provided by Florida hospitals. The findings showed a sharp increase in emergency visits specifically linked to tooth pain. In 2008, 105,992 visits were recording and by the end of 2010, over 115,000 people (close to 10 percent of which are children).
Missouri ER Dental Visits Up 7 Percent
As the "show me state" Missouri residents are taking the motto to heart as more of them are showing off their rotten teeth to ER workers. A report released by local St. John's Hospital and the Health Commission of Springfield and Green County has shown that around 7 percent of 2010 ER visits were linked directly to poor oral hygiene. Researchers hypothesize that in Missouri the ER is the best option for treating dental problems as Missouri does not provide Medicaid coverage to adults.