CHICAGO - New research shows that more Americans are turning to the emergency room for routine dental problems.
A study released today by the Pew Center on the States found that going to the ER often costs 10 times more than preventive care and offers far fewer treatment options than a dentist's office.
Shortages of dentists, including those who treat Medicaid patients, are part of the problem.
The number of ER visits nationwide for dental problems increased 16 percent from 2006 to 2009. The report suggests that trend is continuing.
In Florida, for example, there were more than 115,000 ER dental visits in 2010. That resulted in more than $88 million in charges.