It's a story that's becoming more and more common: Patients are visiting the dentist for the first time in years and finding that they have serious dental health problems. Furthermore, more people are having problems affording or gaining access to oral care, which is resulting in individuals having to turn to the emergency room (ER) for dental procedures. USA Today reported in on this problem, and said that these hospital visits are translating to higher costs for taxpayers.
Recently, Health Policy Solutions reported that lack of access to dental care is costing Colorado millions. The news source stated that in 2011, nearly 3,000 children visited the operating room at Children’s Hospital for dental surgery.
"That number has been increasing for every year for the past decade,” said Patricia Braun, a pediatrician at Denver Health, quoted by the news source. “It is a large economic issue. Studies have shown that restoring dental disease in an operating room costs about $10,000 to $15,000 per case."
Braun went on to say that if 3,000 children are visiting the ER for dental problems, that translates to close to $45 million in increased healthcare costs. This highlights the need for greater access to affordable dental care.
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