A new trend is occurring all over the world. People are using emergency rooms for their Oral health care. This could be due to a lack of health insurance and funds. Low income to middle class families are choosing to visit the emergency room for tooth extractions instead of a private dentist. Visits to hospital emergency rooms for dental issues increased for those aged 19 to 49, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). In England the number one reason school aged children go to the hospital is for tooth extractions. The number of children aged from five to nine needing hospital treatment for dental problems rose by more than 3,000 in 2013-14, according to figures analyzed by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
One of the largest downfalls of this method of dental care is that most emergency rooms do not have a dentist on staff and therefore end up prescribing antibiotics and pain killers. They recommend the patient go to their dentist, but if they had an oral care provider they would go see them not go to the hospital. So, once the patient is finished with the meds they end up back at the hospital.
In order to approach the problem, we must figure out why the problem exists, especially when it comes to children. Kathryn Harley, former dean of the faculty of dental surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons, stated “We have children who require all 20 of their baby teeth to be extracted. It beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic effect.” Could there be a link between childhood obesity and tooth extractions? That is still up for debate as there is conflicting research. Some would like to directly blame sodas and sugar filled drinks. The fact is that poor oral health can affect children’s ability to sleep, eat, speak and socialize with other children. We have to become proactive in teaching oral health care and healthy eating habits.
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