Washington Update

Emergency Room Visits Due to Dental Problems on the Rise

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The number of emergency room visits due to dental problems nearly doubled in the United States in a 10-year period, according to a report by the American Dental Association. The report states that visits related to dental problems grew from 1.1 million in 2000 to 2.1 million in 2010. Young adults ages 21 to 34 are accounting for the increase in visits, most likely due to the lack of dental insurance.

The findings highlighted the national problem of access to oral health care. It is believed that 130 million Americans either lack dental insurance, or have only limited adult dental coverage under Medicaid. Given the tight budgets for Medicaid it is unlikely that states will expand their coverage for underserved populations.

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