More Americans Visiting Hospital Emergency Rooms for Oral Infections

Did you know that an abscessed tooth left untreated can lead to other medical problems?

Many Americans put off visiting the dentist until they experience significant oral pain. Dental problems develop when people do not brush and floss their teeth daily or schedule regular appointments for dental checkups and cleanings. Bacterial plaque in the mouth adheres to the teeth and over time create cavities. If left untreated, an abscess can form.

According to WebMD, an abscessed tooth is a painful infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth. It’s most commonly caused by severe tooth decay. Other causes of tooth abscess are trauma, such as a break or chip, and gum inflammation or gum disease.

The infection from an abscessed tooth can spread and lead to other health concerns. The American Dental Association reports that there are more than 2 million visits to hospital emergency rooms (ER) each year for dental health issues.

According to a NY Times article, hospitals across the country also have noted an increase in hospitalizations for dental abscesses, with many people ignoring the problem until their face is swollen and they experience breathing problems. Researchers evaluating national ER patient data from 2000 to 2008 discovered that the number of people hospitalized for dental abscesses increased by more than 40 percent, costing the health care system more than $858 million.

Wouldn’t it be safer (and smarter) to brush every day and schedule a dental exam and cleanings each year to avoid more expensive dental or medical problems in the future?

Learn more about patients using the ER for non-emergencies:

Hospital Emergency Rooms Used for Unnecessary Care