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phillips, hunt & walker What is Pediatric Dental Abuse?

Dental abuse is a national epidemic. Specifically, if your case falls into these categories, it might be a case of dental abuse.

  • Multiple unnecessary teeth extractions, root canals, crowns or other procedures;
  • Invasive procedures done without the parent’s knowledge or consent or where parent forbidden from going back with child;
  • Systematic use of a papoose, pedi-board or other restraint device;
  • Fillings, crowns, and extractions done without the proper use of anesthesia;
  • Doctor caused perforated nerve chambers, painful abscesses or holes in tongue, lips or gums;
  • Physical injury caused by doctor or staff;
  • Severe emotional harm caused by doctor or staff;
  • Procedures deemed to have not been conducted to reasonable dentist standards by another dentist;
  • Poor documentation, charting and record keeping
  • Billing violations / insurance billing issues;
  • And usually will feature a combination of the above.

Why Does Dental Abuse Exist?

Dentists have been caught billing for more than 1,000 services a day for almost 100 days. Another performed over 3o procedures — including multiple stainless steel crowns and baby root canals — to a 4-year-old during a visit. Medicaid regularly paid singular dentists millions of dollars per year and clinics were able to make much more.

For many decades, there was little concern, oversight or regulation of dental clinics that often over-treated large numbers of children who were on Medicaid benefits. Thus, these children fell into to classes: (1) they were from limited financial means, or (2) they were disabled or had a qualifying condition.

Much of this treatment arose to the level of abuse, but reports by parents were often ignored, parents didn’t know better, parents were intimidated or threatened by the dentist, or the parents were afraid to go against what was presented as a government recommended and approved dentist.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG), federal and state Medicaid authorities and other federal, state, county and city authorities have been late to react and regulate. Even when they do investigate dentists, the law enforcement agencies are understaffed and underfunded.

So, these dentists have been left to thrive in an unregulated system, to over bill, to treat children like cattle, to book too many patients and use sometimes cruel, abusive or neglectful treatment to get as many children treated in a day as they can.

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