There have been cases where parents have been charged with neglect and abuse for not taking care of a child’s basic health needs, like food and water, but now a Pennsylvania couple is in hot water for not tending to their daughter’s dental health.
According to WPVI-TV, Kevin Wanamaker and Jessica Hoffman, the parents of the 6-year-old child, are facing child endangerment charges for allegedly not taking care of their daughter’s teeth.
A dentist described the child’s extreme case of dental disease in an affidavit that details a case of neglect so severe the youngster is suffering from 14 abscessed teeth. Without the proper treatment, the dentist claimed her life could be in danger, describing her condition as, “The worst case of dental disease he has ever seen.”
According to the National Institutes of Health’s Medline Plus, an abscessed tooth is a collection of infected material, or pus, in the center of the tooth. If there is a severe infection, the tooth may be removed, or surgery may be needed to drain the abscess.
Also according to the NIH, untreated abscesses can get worse and lead to life-threatening complications, a potential reality the dentist noted in the affidavit.
The girl was reportedly scheduled to have the work started in March. Her parents, however, reportedly didn’t schedule the required pre-operation exam so the procedure has yet to be performed.
Officials from the Northampton County Children, Youth, and Services Division who are investigating the case and arrangements are reportedly being made for the necessary surgery to be performed this summer.
To learn more about dental health and how to keep your gums and teeth healthy, visit the MouthHealthy.org website, which is hosted by the American Dental Association.