More kids going to ERs for dental care; are handheld x-ray systems safe?

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Medical professionals and policymakers take note: The number of young children with early childhood caries who sought treatment at emergency departments and ambulatory surgery facilities in New York state rose sharply between 2004 and 2008, and the costs of treating them nearly doubled, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dental Association. And the situation is not unique to New York.

Click here to read the researchers' recommendations for easing the growing burden on healthcare systems that are designed to deal with medical emergencies and surgical procedures, not oral healthcare.

In a related study in the Journal of Dental Research, school-based fluoride mouth rinse programs offer substantial caries-prevention benefits to children in high-risk areas. The study authors also produced a new way of determining what constitutes an "at-risk" school population when it comes to caries.

Finally, more than 6,000 handheld intraoral x-ray devices are now in use in the U.S., supported by a growing body of research demonstrating the safety of these devices in terms of radiation exposure. A new study in the February Health Physics indicates that one device in particular provides the greatest protection for both patients and practitioners -- even compared with wall-mounted units. Read more.

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