GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tooth decay is becoming an epidemic among our children.
"The typical child that comes in to us between 3 to 8, 9 years old and they could have anywhere from 3 to 20 cavities," said Dr. Darren Riopelle of Smile One who sees it first hand as a pediatric dentist. "It's a disease. If it's one tooth, it spreads to all the other teeth."
Riopelle says about 25% of children have dental decay before they even enter kindergarten. "It's not uncommon that the entire mouth needs to be restored." And most of the time that would happen in the hospital at a cost of about $10,000 until now.
Dr. Riopelle and a group of pediatric dentists and anesthesiologists created Daydreams a surgical pediatric dental service located in Grand Rapids where kids can have dental work done painlessly under general anesthesia in a safe environment.
"[The] Average case takes about an hour [or] hour and a half. We can go pretty fast because they're out and we've got trained pediadontists that can do this work. And after that they can go on to our post-op which takes about 15 to 20 minutes and then we bring the parent in and we take them back out," explains Riopelle.
Daydreams can treat about 36 kids in a day. "We've made it very easy to get in here. Easy access and all of the treatment can get taken care of at once."
Riopelle says they've also made it affordable.
"Most of the children that we see are on the state program called Healthy Kids and there is actually no charge to them. We have figured out if we remove the barriers and get the work don't it really doesn't cost them anything out of pocket."
And for those with insurance that cost is about $500 dollars. "It's taking the level of care that needs to be given to these kids that no one else can deliver." Which Riopelle says helps to give kids a second chance at healthy mouth.
Last year more than 3,000 children in the Grand Rapids area had full mouth rehabilitation surgery under general anesthesia.
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