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Open Access Hospital-based Emergency Department Visits with Dental Conditions among Children in the United States: Nationwide Epidemiological Data

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Purpose: To provide nationally representative estimates of hospital-based emergency department visits (ED) for dental caries, pulp and periapical lesions, gingival/periodontal lesions, and mouth cellulitis occurring among patients who were 21 years old and younger. Methods: Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) for the year 2008 was used. All ED visits with dental conditions were included. Discharge patterns, demographics, disposition following ED visit, and hospital charges, were examined. NEDS is a uniform, stratified dataset, and can be projected to the national level. Results: A total of 215,073 ED visits with dental conditions occurred among children. These visits included diagnosis of dental caries (50 percent of visits), pulpal and periapical conditions (41 percent), gingival (15 percent) and periodontal diseases (five percent), and mouth abscess/cellulitis (three percent). Forty-two percent were covered by Medicaid, and 32 percent were uninsured. Mean charge per visit was $564, and total ED charge across the United States (US) was $104.2 million. Among those hospitalized following ED visits, total hospitalization charge across US was $162 million. Conclusions: A substantial amount of hospital resources are spent treating dental conditions in the ED. A total of 43 percent of ED visits were covered by Medicaid, and 32 percent were uninsured.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Orthodontics, College of Dentistry, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, USA 2: Castle Society, Office of Dental Education, at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Mass, USA. [email protected] 3: Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Mass, USA 4: Cleveland, Ohio, USA 5: Department of Developmental Biology, at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Mass, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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