The fact that emergency room doctors have no ability to treat dental issues hasn’t deterred people in Ontario recently.
Around 58,000 adults visited the emergency room in the Canadian province last year even though they were only treated with antibiotics or painkillers. This issue highlights the fact that better access to healthcare is necessary for low-income adults. The visits cost taxpayers $30 million last year.
The Ontario Oral Health Alliance, which began in 2007, showed that at least 3,500 people went to the hospital for dental problems in Toronto alone.
There is now a petition in the works that calls for unspent money to be reserved for pediatric dental care for low-income people. Among senior citizens, there are about 5,000 of them looking for an appointment at Toronto’s 23 public health clinics at any time and the wait time for a basic checkup may be as long as three years.
Adults on the Ontario Disability Support Program are currently covered for basic and preventative dental care.
Some of the patients, however, who visit the emergency room are people with dental coverage who are unaware that the emergency room can’t perform dental surgery.
The ideal solution to curb this problem is the combination of more dental awareness and more dental coverage. It will also make sense to put that $30 million in taxpayer money into expanded dental coverage instead of essentially encouraging people to visit the emergency room.