Treating perio disease reduces ER, hospital visits

Results of a three-year Cigna dental study, presented at the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) conference in Seattle, support the association between treated periodontal disease and reduced hospital admissions and emergency room (ER) visits, as well as lower medical costs.

Cigna's study looked at periodontal patients from 2009 through 2011. On average, patients who received periodontal disease treatment had better outcomes than patients without treatment. Hospital admission rates were 149 per thousand (67%) lower, emergency room visits were 100 per thousand (54%) lower, and medical costs were $1,020 per year (28%) lower.

Advancing understanding of how treatment for periodontal disease can affect overall health may help lead to the creation of evidence-based treatment standards that could benefit millions of people and simultaneously help reduce medical costs, explained Robert Genco, DDS, PhD, a professor at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a member of Cigna's Dental Clinical Advisory Panel.

In the U.S., half of adults age 30 or older -- 64.7 million people -- have periodontitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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