Most would agree that the best approach to dental health is preventative. But according to a recent survey by the NHCS, an increasing number of patients in the U.S. are receiving oral care as a last resort. According to the ADA Health Policy Resources Center, the swell in dental ER visits has been driven by a decrease in public and private dental benefits for adults. The HPRC noted that these visits cost the U.S. healthcare system between $867 million and $2.1 billion in 2010.
ADA News posted the following statistics on their website:
The number of dental emergency room visits in the U.S. increased from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010, according to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The survey also showed dental ER visits as a percent of total ER visits increasing from 1.06 percent in 2000 to 1.65 percent in 2010?a change HPRC cites as statistically significant.
On top of these sobering statistics, the ADA has expressed that the upcoming Affordable Care Act does little to address access to dental care, foreshadowing a situation that is likely to get worse before it gets better. If it gets better.