Letters: ER patients
September 02, 2013
Regarding the July 15 article, the reasons suggested for this were a decline in the number of people with dental insurance and a lack of education concerning dental health. I would suggest another possibility.
There is no definitive dental treatment offered in the emergency department and the patient does not have to face the fear of having dental treatment. No one, especially the uneducated, likes to go to the dentist for treatment.
The emergency department will offer medication and a referral to a dentist that is often ignored. Dentistry needs to make treatment available where patients seek treatment.
A subspecialty of emergency general dentistry training could be taught in the dental schools.
These dentists could work in the emergency departments providing definitive care in the location where there is an increase in the population seeking dental treatment. This possibility of definitive treatment would decrease the number of patients seeking care in the emergency department.
The issue of affordability and the uninsured patient is often mentioned as a deterrent to seeking dental care. Dental insurance was not generally available 35 years ago and people budgeted for dental care because they valued the service.
Many of the young people whom I see, who claim that they have not sought dental care because of finances, have many other things that they value.
The last time that I checked there was no insurance for cell phones with data packages, tattoos, piercings, junk food, sports, trendy clothing, entertainment (go to any bar or amusement park on any weekend) etc., but they valued these more than dental care and found a way to afford these purchases.
Dentistry is available to those who value the service. Dentistry should teach the value of our services, not how to offer free care and should be providing care where the population is seeking care.
Lawrence J. Tepe, D.D.S.