Hospital emergency department visits attributed to pulpal and periapical disease in the United States in 2006

J Endod. 2011 Jan;37(1):6-9. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Nov 12.


Background: Relatively localized conditions such as infection of the pulp or periapical tissues if left untreated could spread and require hospital care. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of such hospital-based emergency department (ED) visits, to quantify hospital charges associated with those visits, and to identify characteristics of those members of the population who are likely to make such visits.

Methods: The experimental design of this study involves the use of The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample for the year 2006. All discharges with a primary diagnosis code for pulpal and periapical diseases (International Classification of Disease, Clinical Modification [ICD-9-CM] code of 522) were selected for analysis. All estimates were projected to national levels using the discharge weight variables.

Results: In the United States, during the year 2006, a total of 403,149 ED visits had a primary diagnosis code for pulp and periapical diseases. The average patient age was 32.9 years. The mean hospital charge for ED visits was $480, and the total charges for all the ED visits in the United States was $163,692,957. Among the ED visits, 5,721 were admitted to the same hospital for inpatient care. The mean length of stay after hospitalization was 2.95 days. The uninsured (39.92%) constituted the largest proportion of all ED visits.

Conclusions: This study identifies high-risk groups that are likely to present to hospital-based EDs for the treatment of pulp and periapical diseases. This highlights the need for significant resources to treat such patients in a hospital care setting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Dental Pulp Diseases / economics*
  • Dental Pulp Diseases / epidemiology
  • Dental Pulp Diseases / therapy
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / standards*
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hospital Charges / standards*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Patient Admission / standards
  • Periapical Diseases / economics*
  • Periapical Diseases / epidemiology
  • Periapical Diseases / therapy
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vulnerable Populations