Emergency department visits for nontraumatic dental conditions: a systematic literature review. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To summarize the literature on factors associated with emergency department (ED) use for nontraumatic dental conditions (NTDCs). METHODS: Following a database search, empirical studies were included if they examined factors associated with ED visits for NTDCs. The factors identified in these studies were further categorized using the Andersen Behavioral Model. Where appropriate, odds ratios (ORs) predicting the likelihood of NTDC ED visits were extracted to obtain summary estimates using random effects models. RESULTS: Sixty-three articles were included. Nontraumatic dental ED visits made up about 2.2percent of all ED visits. Having public health insurance coverage such as Medicaid [OR = 2.17, 95percent confidence interval (CI) = 1.79-2.64], and being uninsured (OR = 2.80, 95percent CI = 2.39-3.39) were predictive of ED visits for NTDCs. Adults were more likely to use the ED for NTDCs compared to children and older adults. Rural adults had increased odds of ED use for NTDCs compared to urban adults (OR = 1.31, 95percent CI = 1.12-1.52). Among younger children, regular dental care without sealant placement was associated with increased ED use for NTDCs. In the UnitedStates, both expansion and restriction of Medicaid dental coverage for adults were associated with increased ED visits for NTDCs. CONCLUSIONS: Policy makers and health care providers should address modifiable factors such as accessible dental care for the uninsured, and comprehensive dental coverage for those with public dental benefits. Targeted interventions should focus on young adults, children with special needs, and subpopulations with low socioeconomic status and chronic health conditions.

published proceedings

  • J Public Health Dent

altmetric score

  • 15.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Akinlotan, M. A., & Ferdinand, A. O.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Akinlotan, Marvellous A||Ferdinand, Alva O

publication date

  • September 2020