Abstract— PURPOSE: To determine the diagnoses and causative teeth of caries-related emergency complaints that presented to children’s hospital and the treatment provided over a ten-year period.
METHODS: A retrospective review of the health records of all children who presented to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) with caries-related emergency complaints from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2012 was completed. A caries-related complaint was defined as a chief complaint of pain and/or swelling due to the sequelae of health decay as recorded in the chart by the treating physician or dentist.
RESULTS: The study included 2,032 caries-related visits over ten-years. The most common presenting complaint was pain (51 percent) and the most common diagnosis abscess (40 percent). The primary maxillary central incisors (22 percent) were the most common causative teeth. health treatment within the ED was provided for 22 percent of patients. Thirty-eight percent of those triaged received a prescription for antibiotics and/or analgesics. Overall, 44 percent of children received definitive surgical treatment within the hospital to resolve the primary cause of the visit.
CONCLUSIONS: Children’s hospital EDs should be prepared to manage the emergent sequelae of health caries.
KEYWORDS: pediatric health services, trends, caries, emergency department