Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shocking: Louisiana Dental Association Wants Children's Cavities to Go Unfilled

Louisiana school dentist

Dr. Brandon Martin and Lyndsey Curtis work on a filling on one of six year old Timothey Bethley's teeth in the library of  Melrose Elementary School. The first grader was one of twenty students the dentist was seeing at the school. Photo Courtesy of The Advocate

No, not really shocking but a turf war between organized dentistry and an enterprising dentist who has set up mobile dental clinics in Louisiana public schools.

Six-year-old Timothey Bethley, of Baton Rouge, got a pain-deadening shot earlier this week, then laid back to get a cavity filled in the school library at Melrose Elementary.

Afterward, he returned to class.

Marty Garrett, of the Louisiana Dental Association, said that kind of invasive dental procedure needs to take place in a proper dentist’s office, not among stacks of books.

“This isn’t like an eye screening or a hearing test,” said Garrett, past president of the 1,800-member trade association and a practicing Baton Rouge periodontist.

“If you have to do an injection on a child or if you fix cavities on teeth … you need to be able to walk out and inform the parents of what’s going on. They need to be treated in a safe office setting,” he said.

Earlier this month, the association passed a resolution opposing any delivery of care that “compromises the dental home concept,” meaning treating children outside of a dentist’s permanent office. State Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slidell, filed House Bill 687 that would forbid dentists from treating children on school grounds.

HB687 would drive Gregory J. Folse, of Outreach Dentistry in Lafayette, out of business.
Actually, I am surprised the Lousiana schools would want the potential liability of this treatment on their campuses.

Sure it is convenient for the parent's, especially the poor who qualify for Medicaid, but why should Louisiana taxpayers subsidize this care in direct competition with their own private dentists.

But, this is a "TURF WAR" and they are never pretty.

I bet the Louisiana Dental Association wins or at the very least there is statewide competive bidding as to who provides the school-based care.

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  1. This is astonishing. Our children's teeth need to be looked after - especially since most of them are on a high sugar diet.

    The warring factions need to come together - & fast for the sake of the kids (& our) dental future.

  2. There needs to be more education for children on the importance of dental health and regular visits to the dentist.