A pediatric dental office in Bartonsville, PA, sent a letter to a mother stating the practice may report her to that state's child protective services for not bringing her child in for follow-up care.
The mother, Trey Hoyumpa, claimed that she brought her two children to the Smiles 4 Keeps dental office in December 2017, according to a Pocono Record article. The office refused to treat both of her children on the same day, so she sought care at another office, Hoyumpa said. Then, she received a form letter from Smiles 4 Keeps stating that failure to get dental care for a child is considered neglect in the state.
"Pennsylvania Act 31 (Child Abuse Reporting and Recognition Requirements) states that healthcare providers must report your failure to bring the child to the dentist for evaluation and care," the letter reads.
In the letter, the practice also asked parents to bring their child in for care within the next 30 days or to provide the name of their child's new provider. The Smiles 4 Keeps Facebook page did not specify the child's condition for privacy reasons but added that the letters are sent under specific conditions and only after multiple attempts have been made to contact parents.
"Part of our job is caring for children who suffer from tooth decay and other oral health issues," a Smiles 4 Keeps Facebook post states. "When left untreated, these issues are likely to progressively worsen and affect the child's overall health. Sometimes, when dental conditions are left untreated, the results can be fatal."