Approximately 35% of children and teens enter foster care with significant oral health problems.
Many children enter the foster care system with problems like bottle tooth decay, cavities and premature gum disease due to neglect and abuse.
Three-year-old Christopher, whom the Alliance met through our Children’s Health and Advocacy Clinic, a medical-legal partnership with LAC + USC Medical Center, is one such child. Christopher was consistently given Pepsi in a bottle as a baby, and he entered foster care with rotten teeth at only 18 months old. His front four teeth had to be removed because of baby bottle tooth decay, but he was left toothless following the removal because his dentist failed to pursue a pediatric implant from Medi-Cal.
Christopher’s doctor became concerned with the missing teeth and referred the case to the Alliance. Our Healthcare Program pursued the claim with both the provider and Medi-Cal. After working our way up the chain of command, we were ultimately able to get the provider to give Christopher an implant free of charge. Christopher’s speech has significantly improved with his new teeth and he’s happy to look like other kids his age until his adult teeth come in. We are thrilled to report that Christopher is flourishing with his foster family in Long Beach, toothy grin and all!