Type of publication:
British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dec 2019; vol. 57 (no. 10)
Background A dental infection often requires simple treatment but an abscess can turn into a life threatening condition. In the UK in April 2006 a new dental contract was introduced, it changed the renumeration tariffs from pay per item to a 3 tier banding payment system in the hope of shifting the balance to prevention rather than treatment. Aims The aim of this project is to study the change in incidence and severity of dental infections presenting to Telford Hospital Emergency Department (ED), the treatment required plus the potential implications on Maxillofacial Services. Methods Data was collected from 2006 and 2016. Using the ED database codes for 'soft tissue infection/abscess or Facio-maxillary conditions' patients were identified. Only those notes stating a clear dental cause were included. Results The median age range in 2006 and 2016 was 30years old. In 2016, 20% of patients had been commenced on Antibiotics (most commonly amoxicillin) compared to only 3% in 2006. The number of patients presenting to ED doubled in 2016 and the procedures (LA/ GA) more than quadrupled resulting in a rise in inpatient stay from 1 to 11 days in total. The increase in GA could indicate increased severity of the abscess. Conclusions It would appear that the work load managed by Maxillofacial Surgeons has increased. There has also been an increase in incidence and severity of dental infections. Whether this is secondary to deterioration in dental health or unwillingness by the public to pay to for dental health care is unclear.