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Letters: After-hours emergency care

October 20, 2014 Some 40 years ago, under the leadership of the late Dr. A. Norman Cranin, the Department of Dental and Oral Surgery at the then Brookdale Hospital Medical Center established a policy of providing definitive after-hours care for dental emergencies. House staff treated these needs within the hospital's dental center and, ultimately, within a fully equipped dental operatory in the hospital's emergency department. Notwithstanding Dr. Feldman's appeal for a more global and comprehensive approach to providing access to care ("Emergency Room Is No Place For a Toothache" Aug. 18 ADA News), infections of the dental pulp, periapical tissues and their adnexa constitute medical emergencies of varying degrees, requiring immediate attention. This clinician has always been of the opinion that every Level I trauma center's emergency department should provide an equipped and staffed unit for that purpose. Funding and reimbursement issues might be resolved if the profession sought a pathway to the ultimate retirement of the self-limiting term "dental." It ain't just teeth. While we are waiting for this messianic prophecy to be fulfilled, a regimen of tooth brushing, flossing and curtailment of cariogenic junk "wouldn't hurt," as Dr. Cranin would often quip.

Arnold Rosenstock, D.D.S., M.S.Ed.
Boca Raton, Florida