Dental Tribune America

Oral infections lead to more hospitalizations

By Dental Tribune International
September 04, 2013

BOSTON, USA: A new study has suggested that the number of hospitalizations due to preventable oral infections may be on the rise. Reviewing national patient data, the researchers found that the number of people hospitalized for dental abscesses, an infection surrounding the root of a tooth and a common consequence of untreated tooth decay, has increased significantly over the last decade.

In the study, researchers from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine analyzed the data of patients hospitalized between 2000 and 2008 retrospectively. They found that overall almost 61,500 hospitalizations were primarily attributed to periapical abscesses in the U.S. over the nine-year period.

As reported by The New York Times online, the annual number of hospitalizations increased by more than 40 percent from 5,757 in 2000 to 8,141 in 2008.

According to the scientists, 89 percent of all the hospitalizations occurred on an emergency basis. The mean length of stay was 2.96 days. The average age of patients admitted for reasons related to a dental abscess was 37. More than 18 percent of the patients had no insurance. In addition, the numbers revealed that 66 patients died in hospitals because of such oral infections.

The study, titled "Outcomes of Hospitalizations Attributed to Periapical Abscess from 2000 to 2008: A Longitudinal Trend Analysis," was published in the September issue of the Journal of Endodontics.

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