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Emergency room physicians are seeing the number of patients coming in for problems caused by inadequate dental care rise as the economy stays week and too few people have dental insurance, according to an article in the Kennebec Journal.
"I have drained abscesses on children as young as four years of age and had to admit patients to the hospital for life-threatening complications of dental infections because they were unable to get basic dental care," said Dr Barbara Covey, who works at Maine General Medical Center.
Covey said her department can treat as many as 10 dental-related emergencies a day, usually for conditions that could be prevented if the patient had affordable access to dental care.
Emergency room dental care can cost more than preventative care, and the doctors are limited in what they can provide, as they are not dentists.
Maine has the dubious distinction of being the fifth most toothless state in the nation, according to the Bangor Daily News. No less than with 30 percent of adults age 65 and older in the state have lost all of their natural teeth.
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