Recent Trends in Hospital Emergency Department Visits for Non-Traumatic Dental Conditions

Published 06/09/2022

An updated visual report from CareQuest Institute finds that in 2019, there were 1.8 million hospital emergency department (ED) visits for non-traumatic dental conditions (NTDCs), which cost $3.4 billion to treat. 

Hospital ED visits for NTDCs can divert critical resources and create added stress for ED personnel. Moreover, most hospitals lack the ability to provide appropriate care for NTDCs, and the typical cost of such ED visits is much higher than a patient receiving care from a dental provider.  

In this publication, an update from a 2020 report, CareQuest Institute researchers found: 

  • Since 2014, average annual charges associated with ED visits for NTDCs have increased by 62%, while the rate of ED visits for NTDCs has continued to decrease.  
  • Patients most likely to visit the ED for an NTDC are 25-34 years old, uninsured or have Medicaid coverage, live in a rural area, or have an income below $48,000 per year. 
  • Black individuals were 44% more likely to visit an ED for NTDCs compared with white individuals. 

These trends reflect changes and growing inequities in Americans’ access to dental care. 

You may also be interested in: