If you’re involved in an accident resulting in any type of serious injury, calling 999 or taking a trip to your local A&E department is the first thing that many people think of. While in many cases, this is the correct course of action, if you have suffered an injury to your teeth you may find that A&E is not the best place for you.
At CK Dental Practice we know that the issue with patients seeking emergency departments at hospitals is that they are unlikely to have doctors who are qualified in dentistry, so are therefore not necessarily the best practitioners to be dealing with the issue.
Dr Chet Trivedy who is the chair of a newly formed group set up to tackle this issue, comments “thousands of people go to A&E each year with a dental problem, however, the issue is that many doctors aren’t trained in dentistry and are likely to have limited experience and resources to help these patients.”
The group has a more memorable acronym than many, “D.R.E.A.M.S” – the Dental Review of Emergency Attendances Multi Stakeholder group. Its aim is to identify and find solutions for the way that dental problems are dealt with in A&E departments.
The new committee comprises representatives of a number of high profile medical groups, including the Faculty of Dental Surgery, the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Royal College of Nursing, the British Association of Dental Nurses and NHS Islington Clinical Commissioning Group.
Seeking dental treatments at A&E can be costly
The other problem for struggling hospital budgets is that if people use A&E departments for issues where they should be seeing their dentist, the cost to the system is significant. It is estimated that each year, patients seeking dental treatments at A&E costs the health service £18million.
Many dental practices are not in a position to offer out of hours services that are able to step in and help when a dental emergency occurs, leaving patients with no choice other than to attend A&E.
One of the aims of the D.R.E.A.M.S group is to help ensure that A&E doctors are sufficiently trained in dealing with some of the most common dental concerns, including a lost tooth, broken tooth or excess bleeding following a tooth extraction.
The group recognises that it will face the age-old problems of time and money, but is hoping to work collaboratively with all dental stakeholders to try and find a suitable resolution to help patients, the health services and dental practitioners.