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Study Investigates Dental-Related Emergency Department Visits in North Dakota

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An explanatory sequential mixed methods study published in the Journal of Primary Care and Community Health focused on the frequency of emergency department (ED) use for nontraumatic dental conditions (NTDC), a well-researched community health concern. Analyzing tooth pain data from State Medicaid and the Early Notification of Community-Based Epidemics between 2015 and 2021, the study found a decline in NTDC ED visits in North Dakota from 2017 to 2020, with a recent increase. The highest proportion of visits occurred in individuals aged 20 to 34 and 35 to 44. Interviews with providers in counties with the highest per-capita NTDC ED use revealed misconceptions between ED and dental care staff about their roles in reducing NTDC ED visits. While NTDC ED use was considered “appropriate” care, there was a consensus that enhancing access to affordable and quality preventive dental care could reduce NTDC ED visits and enhance overall community health, particularly for populations facing greater inequities. Click here to read more.

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