IHS Triaging and Treating Dental Conditions in the Emergency Department Initiative
Each year in the U.S. there are over 2 million Emergency Department visits related to dental conditions. Of these, 110,000 result in hospital admissions. 26.1% of dental-related ED visits are from patients who self-pay (do not have a third-party payer, compared to 11.8% of non-dental related ED visits. 42.2% of dental-related ED visits are from patients with Medicaid, compared to 32.4% of non-dental related ED visits. In the 46 IHS and tribal hospitals in FY 2022, there were 9,501 dental-related ED visits, about 1.4% of all ED visits. This project replicated a project in Wisconsin to teach ED medical providers how to triage and treat dental conditions for patients presenting to the ED. Project goals included the following:
- Increase awareness of diagnosis of different dental conditions presenting in the emergency department.
- Increase communications and timely referrals between IHS and tribal emergency departments and dental programs.
- Decrease the number of opioid prescriptions for dental conditions in the emergency department.
- Promote antibiotic stewardship in relation to dental conditions in emergency departments.
- Enhance skills of ED medical providers in administering local anesthesia for patients presenting with dental pain.