The purpose of this study is to describe the impact of Delaware's first pediatric dental residency program on treatment of patients presenting to the pediatric emergency department (PED).
Charts were reviewed for patients presenting to the PED with a dental chief complaint over a 9-month period with a comparison period. Chief complaint, diagnosis, treatment interventions, disposition, and demographic information were included. χ2, Fisher exact, and Student t tests with a P value less than 0.05 were regarded as significant.
A total of 432 patients met inclusion criteria; 197 before dental residency commencement and 235 after residency commencement. Dental consultation significantly increased (56% vs 7%, P < 0.01) between the study periods. There were no statistically significant differences in sex, race, insurance type, admissions, or proportion of presentations of trauma or infection between the study periods. Dental residents provided in-person evaluation for 40% of patients. The proportion of patients receiving dental intervention increased significantly postresidency period (57% vs 47%, P = 0.04). Pediatric emergency department extractions and splints both occurred in a significantly larger portion of patients after the start of the residency program (17% vs 1% and 5% vs 0%, P < 0.01). A higher proportion of patients with dental complaints received procedural sedation in the PED after residency (13% vs 2%, P < 0.01).
Pediatric dental resident availability in the PED significantly increased dental consultation and intervention. A significantly higher percentage of PED patients received definitive treatment at point of service without requiring referral to another facility.