ANAHEIM (CBSLA.com) — Children’s Dental Group in Anaheim will not be able to perform procedures on kids until the facility puts in a bacteria-free water system.
That order was handed down by Orange County health officials Thursday afternoon.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Michele Gile first reported Tuesday about the concerning outbreak and the fact that nine children have been admitted to Children’s Hospital of Orange County after getting treatments similar to a root canal.
Many of the children developed abscesses in their mouths and throats, and many required surgery.
The Dental Board of California also warned parents that children who’ve been treated at Children’s Dental Group since May and have been sick should be checked by a doctor.
“I think it goes way further than that, honestly,” says mom Jessica Basquez, “I’ve seen several other cases that have gone further back. This has been an ongoing issue with kids, and I feel they have been damaging kids and traumatizing kids. This place should not be open.”
Her son, Andrew de la Torre, 8, went to Children’s Dental for a checkup in January but instead was given a baby root canal procedure. His mom says she was not charged but her insurance, Cal Optima, was.
Within days Andrew — swollen and bruised — was rushed to the ER and given IV antibiotics for an infection in his lymph nodes. Doctors found an abscess linked to the dental work.
“I feel like they’re just doing some fraudulent things with insurances, charging for things that shouldn’t even be done on children, making them go through pain that shouldn’t even be going on,” said Basquez. “Making false statements, basically saying they have cavities when they don’t.”
A bacteria similar to one that at least one child was infected with was found in the clinic’s water supply, according to health officials.
Until that water system is replaced and guaranteed to be free of bacteria, dental work at Children’s Dental Group in Anaheim cannot be done, officials said.
Gile asked the CEO of Children’s Dental Clinic about the water supply earlier this week. She told him officials were looking at the water as a possible source for infection and that the bacteria in question is known to be hard to clean off surfaces.
“I’m not sure that that is an accurate statement, in several respects,” said Samuel Gruenbaum, Children’s Dental CEO.
Health officials said as many as 500 children may have undergone that root canal procedure over the past several months.
State officials said concerned parents should take their children to a doctor and anyone with questions about the treatment, officials want them to go online and file a complaint.