Managing Dental Pain in the Emergency Department: Dental Disparities With Practice Implications

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This column critiques the findings from a retrospective medical record review, “Doctor, my tooth hurts, the costs of incomplete dental care in the emergency room,” by E. Davis, A. Deinard, & E. Maiga (2010). The study was designed to examine characteristics of patients presenting to emergency departments (EDs) with dental related problems and their associated costs of care. The study also looked at the frequency of dental related return visits speculated to represent ineffective ED treatment of underlying dental problems. We discuss the findings from this study in the context of growing concern about dental health disparities within the United States, including implications for advanced practice nurse management of dental related problems in the ED.

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