A recent UBC news publication highlighted the fact that there are 12,300 visits to the Emergency Room (ER) each year in B.C. related to non-traumatic dental issues. As well, a recent study published this month (September 2017) in the Canadian Journal of Public Health highlighted the cost of ER visits for preventable problems, such as tooth decay, and shared interviews with 25 people with mental illness and addiction who reported feeling stigmatized when they tried to access dental services.
Oral care providers understand fully that the cost of dental care is a key barrier to access. We also understand that marginalized populations often feel stigmatized in health care settings when they do seek care. The fact is these numbers make it clear that people are not getting access to preventative care for problems like caries or gum disease which in turn leads to a larger problem that then causes them to seek help in the ER.