From the 2012 News Archive
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Law School to Host Children's Dental Health Forum on February 22

On Wednesday, February 22, practitioners, policymakers, and parents convened at UM Carey Law to examine children's access to oral health care. Hosted by Congressman Elijah E. Cummings '76, the forum  discussed the tremendous progress in this area as well as the improvements that are still needed.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month, but this month also marks a more somber occasion: the fifth anniversary of the death of Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy from Prince George's County who died when an infection from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. An extraction costing about $80, had it been accessible to him, could have saved Deamonte's life.

After opening remarks by Congressman Cummings, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, and Senator Ben Cardin '67, two panels of experts  discussed the state of children's dental health in Maryland and throughout the country. Speakers included:

  • Grace Williams, parent of twins with autism who could not find a dentist to treat her children.
  • In the five years since Deamonte's death, Maryland schools, legislators, agencies, and nonprofit organizations have worked to improve children's access to dental care. The number of dentists accepting Medicaid patients has nearly doubled, although it remains less than 25% of Maryland dentists. Two-thirds of eligible children are now enrolled in Medicaid, which covers dental care. And the Pew Children's Dental Campaign gave Maryland an "A" grade on its 2011 50-state report. However, every year 3,000 Maryland children suffer from dental issues that require visiting a hospital emergency room.

 


Rachel W. W. Granfield

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2014, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved