Many years ago, when I first started practicing dentistry, I often heard people say "Toothache is not a disease, but it can kill you". Personally I experienced toothache many times when I was a little kid, which motivated me to pursue my career as a dentist because I wanted to help people like me. A few years ago, there was a sad news about a boy who died from tooth infection in Washington DC, which shocked the dental community. If you have no idea what damage a bad tooth can do to your health, please read on. I am sharing this old news in memory of little Deamonte Driver.
The death of a homeless boy in Maryland from a tooth infection has stunned the US dental community. Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver had an abscessed molar; left untreated, the infection spread to his brain and killed him. The tragedy has led to renewed calls for better dental care for the poor, particularly improving access to care for children living in poverty.
Driver's mother claims she tried hard to find dental care for him. The family's Medicaid coverage had lapsed, allegedly because enrollment paperwork was sent to the wrong address.
In January, his mother took Deamonte to the hospital for a severe headache. At that point doctors discovered it was the result of a severely infected molar. The infection had by then spread to his brain. Doctors operated twice, and Deamonte had spent several weeks in rehabilitation at the time of his death.
Though Maryland has approximately 5,500 dentists, less than 1,000 of them accept Medicaid. In addition, statistics show that less than a third of the children in Maryland's Medicaid program receive dental treatment in any given year. What's more, Maryland is hardly alone in this problem.
(original report on thewealthydentist.com)