Emergency department visits and dental procedures: Mission of Mercy, 2013–2016

Christopher Okunseri, Stephanie Zbin, Cheng Zheng, Frederick Eichmiller, Elaye Okunseri, Aniko Szabo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: This study compared attendees at Wisconsin Mission of Mercy (MoM) events with and without prior emergency department (ED) visits for dental care in terms of demographic characteristics and dental procedures received. Methods: De-identified archival data available from the America’s Dentists Care Foundation (2013–2016) were analyzed. Summary statistics were calculated based on prior ED visit status for county-level characteristics and type of dental procedures received. Generalized estimating equation models with logistic links were fitted to examine associations between the predictor and independent variables. Results: Most attendees were White, adult females (mean age 37 years). Current dental pain was reported by 61% vs 33% of attendees with and without prior ED visit. Cleaning (57%) was the most common procedure received by attendees with no prior ED visits, while extractions (47%) were the most common for those with prior ED visits. Among MoM attendees, males had higher odds of prior ED visits compared to females. Compared to White, Black had higher odds and Hispanic had lower odds of having prior ED visits. In the multivariable analysis, dental pain (OR: 3.32; 95% CI: 2.75, 4.02) had the strongest association with prior ED visits. Attendees with prior ED visit history had higher odds of receiving extractions and restorative care, compared to cleaning after adjustment for person and county-level characteristics. Conclusion: Among MoM attendees, prior ED visits were associated with not being Hispanic, being male, and having dental pain. Compared to attendees with no prior ED visit, those with prior ED visits had higher odds of receiving restorative care and extractions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157-162
Number of pages6
JournalClinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Access to dental care
  • Emergency services
  • Oral health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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