Is Lack of Dental Insurance Driving More Patients to the ER?

Is Lack of Dental Insurance Driving More Patients to the ER?Do more people need access to dental insurance?

Uninsured Americans are turning to emergency rooms nationwide to manage the pain from dental problems, according to a 2010 Health Resources and Services Administration report.

The same report reveals that dental emergencies make up between 1.3 percent and 2.7 percent of all ER visits.

USAToday reports the reason is a lack of dental coverage for under-insured and uninsured patients as emergency rooms are treating toothaches, tooth abscesses and other dental care emergencies.

Although that number might seem like only a small percentage, Alan Sorkey, a Louisiana emergency physician, pointed out to USAToday that he treated 226 of the 6,336 patients for toothaches last year.

These dental care-related ER visits create higher costs for taxpayers because many of these dental patients return to the ER two or more times per dental problem to manage their symptoms, according to the ADA. And, while the Affordable Care Act addresses dental care for children on Medicaid, the requirement doesn’t exist for adults, ADA spokesman Robert Raible told USAToday.

The ADA is currently working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to devise an approach to get “broader and deeper numbers and look at key indicators for solutions,” ADA President William Calnon said.

What are your thoughts on this growing dental insurance issue?

For more: Lack of dental coverage sends patients to ER for pain

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Dr Egner

    I have provided local ER’s with my number for patients who come for tooth related pain.  If they are without insurance, disabled, fixed income, I extract the tooth for $50 or nothing if they cannot afford to pay.  I can also help parents access Medicaid for their children.  I think the dental community has the obligation to make their services accessible; not to freeloaders, but to people with real needs.  If we don’t, the government will find someone who will.

  • Cath

    Dr. Enger thank you for your comment and your insight.

  • ice.titan

    you are a wonderful human being Dr Egner

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