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A new initiative from the Oral Health Foundation to assess and tackle problems with the way that dental emergencies are handled by A&E departments in the United Kingdom held its first meeting last week (Monday 9 October) at the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
The first meeting of the new Dental Review of Emergency Attendances Multi Stakeholder (D.R.E.A.M.S) Group aimed to explore the issue of patients with dental problems who go to hospital emergency departments rather than dental practices.
It is estimated that patients that seek free dental care at hospitals could be costing around £18 million each year and this remains an issue that has been vastly underestimated by the NHS.1
The meeting marked the beginning of an unprecedented initiative aiming to improve the care of patients with dental emergencies across the UK.
The Chair of the group, Dr Chet Trivedy, Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Trustee of the Oral Health Foundation, explained the need for the D.R.E.A.M.S Group and what he hopes it can achieve.
Dr Trivedy said: "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.
"Many dental issues, such as having a tooth knocked out, bleeding from an extraction or even toothache, would be much better managed by a dentist or dental specialist but this is not always available 24/7 so we need to support our medical colleagues in A&E to manage some time critical emergencies.
"The D.R.E.A.M.S Group enables a broad range of stakeholders to come together to see how we can collectively tackle this problem and find realistic solutions which will hopefully improve the care and management of these situations."