OJEM  Vol.4 No.1 , March 2016
Emergency Department Admissions for Dental & Oral Health Concerns in Rural Northwestern Pennsylvania
Abstract: Background: Oral health emergency department (ED) visits are increasing nationally. This increase in ED admissions is an indicator that preventative dental and oral healthcare practices are not being utilized. Methods: Data was obtained from the Meadville Medical Center. Fourteen ICD-9 codes for dental and oral health admissions over 10 years were categorized and analyzed. Data was graphed to illustrate trends over time and the chi-square test of independence was used to determine associations between admissions types and demographic characteristics. Results: ED admissions for dental and oral health issues were most common among individuals age 19 - 38 years. Most individuals admitted to the ED for these concerns paid with private medical insurance or were uninsured. The categorization of ICD-9 codes allowed us to see that ED use for structural and soft-issues decreased at the end of the decade under study. However, admissions for infections and dental caries increased over time. Conclusions: The opening of a free dental clinic in 2011 might be associated with the decrease in overall admissions for dental and oral health concerns as well as soft tissue and structural admissions. The increase in ED admissions for dental caries and infections illustrates that more affordable and preventative dental and oral health care and education are need.
Cite this paper: Zaborowski, M. and Dawson, R. (2016) Emergency Department Admissions for Dental & Oral Health Concerns in Rural Northwestern Pennsylvania. Open Journal of Emergency Medicine, 4, 23-32. doi: 10.4236/ojem.2016.41004.

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