Taking kids to the dentist can be an arduous task, especially if they need to get some work done beyond a cleaning. It helps to have a caring supportive dentist to walk a child (and parent) through the process. But what happens when it turns out your kid’s dentist is kind of the worst?
This was the case for Texas mom Trey Hoyumpa who recently received a threatening letter in the mail from her child’s dentist, accusing her of neglect after missing her child’s follow-up dental appointment.
Hoyumpa recently shared the letter she received from Smiles 4 Keeps on Facebook so that other parents could see that “Smiles4Keeps bullies the parents, controls the care behind closed doors, and turns parents into villains.”
She explains that she stopped taking her child to this particular dental office for several reasons that she lays out in her post:
The letter from Smiles 4 Keeps states that the goal of the dental office is to “keep children as healthy as possible through education, regular dental check-ups, and timely treatment as needed.” Then, it takes on an accusatory tone.
“According to law, failure to bring your child to dental care is considered neglect.” It then cites Pennsylvania Act 31 and notes, “Smiles 4 Keeps has not reported your child’s outstanding dental treatment, as of yet.”
The last paragraph of the letter states she has “30 days” to schedule a treatment appointment. Or … what?
Hoyumpa tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “In November, Smiles 4 Keeps said that my kids had seven cavities between them, which sounded outrageous. I asked the receptionist to schedule both kids’ [follow-up] appointments on the same day so I wouldn’t have to take off work twice, and she refused. I got really angry because it showed that they didn’t care about their patients."
Hoyumpa also alleges that she was also not able to stay with her kids during the appointment or meet with the dentist. So she told the receptionist she wouldn’t be coming back.
Dr. Wezmar, a dentist at Smiles 4 Keeps, defended the letter and told WNEP News, "People who got upset by that letter, they don’t understand that dental problems can very rapidly turn into a very serious medical problem." Wezmar says he sees problems like infections and serious illnesses almost every day.
“We really have to jar the parent to realize that with a child comes responsibility. We want to make sure they understand it is a serious problem."
Smiles 4 Keeps also posted a statement on their Facebook page and it includes this declaration:
“Letters that refer to dentists’ mandate to report failure to seek necessary treatment are sent under specific conditions. Letters are intended to remind parents and caregivers of the need for dental treatment for the child in question, and the letters are not sent unless attempts at multiple communications with the parents or guardians are unsuccessful or messages from our office remain unanswered. Letters are not sent after one missed treatment appointment.”
True as that all may be, is it really a valid reason to threaten to call CPS on parents over a missed dental appointment?