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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Dental Pain in the Emergency Room

Dental care is very expensive; in many cases it is simply unaffordable which leads to a lifetime of dental pain for countless people. Emergency room physicians claim that many patients who come in are asking for painkillers for dental pain. It can be very difficult for doctors to determine whether the patients are truly suffering from dental problems, or are just med-seeking to collect painkillers,The New York Times reports.

Uninsured or impoverished people will rarely seek care for dental problems until there is a medical emergency, the article notes. Adult dental benefits under Medicaid have been cut back or eliminated in a number of states and many dentists will not accept Medicaid patients.

The Chairwoman of the Emergency Medicine Department at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Gail D’Onofrio, who studied alcohol and drug abuse in emergency rooms, told the newspaper, “The overuse of narcotics is a huge problem, and when a patient presents, especially for dental pain, it’s difficult to make an objective assessment. It puts the physician in a difficult situation to assess whether or not someone truly needs pain medications. We err on the side of treating pain, and it is a huge potential for abuse.”

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