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Dental problems sending more patients to hospitals

The findings of the federal report echo those contained in another study released by the Pew Center on the States. “A Costly Dental Destination: Hospital Care Means States Pay Dearly” found that financially stressed states have been required to bear the cost of expensive emergency treatment for decay, abscesses and other dental ailments. The Pew study, which estimated that preventable dental conditions were the primary reason for 830,590 emergency department visits by Americans in 2009, zetadental concluded that states could reduce hospital visits, strengthen oral health and reduce their costs by making modest investments to improve access to preventive care. The philanthropy attributed the increase in hospital visits to the difficulty that disadvantaged people face in getting preventive care from dentists, Apex Locator noting that in 2009, 56 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children did not receive dental care — not even a routine exam. “The fact that so many Americans go to hospitals for dental care shows the delivery system is failing,” said Shelly Gehshan, root canal treatment director of the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign.

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