Hospital charges for dental caries related emergency admissions

Pediatr Dent. Jan-Feb 2000;22(1):21-5.


Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to develop and test a model for identifying hospital charges resulting from patient admissions through the emergency room of a children's hospital to manage pediatric nontraumatic dental disease.

Method: Model development involved data identification and collection at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Texas. Its utility was tested in 4 children's hospitals across the United States.

Results: The model proved effective in determining hospital charges for pediatric caries-related admissions. Diagnosis codes assigned at the time of admission were not specific enough to limit identification to nontraumatic dental admissions. Extensive review of patient records determined that only one-third of admitted patients identified by the model were caries-related admissions. Fifty-two children were identified who were admitted to the 5 children's hospitals in 1997 due to dental caries or its complications. Median hospital charge per admission was $3,223 and the total hospital charges for these 52 children was $250,000.

Conclusions: More specific ICD-9 diagnosis codes should be developed to identify these patients.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / economics
  • Adolescent
  • Cellulitis / economics
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colorado
  • Dental Caries / economics*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics*
  • Forms and Records Control
  • Hospital Charges*
  • Hospital Records
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / economics
  • Hospitals, Urban / economics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Models, Economic
  • Mouth Diseases / economics
  • Odontogenic Cysts / economics
  • Ohio
  • Orbital Diseases / economics
  • Patient Admission / economics*
  • Periodontal Diseases / economics
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sialadenitis / economics
  • Texas
  • Washington