12-Year-Old's Death Leads to Better Access to Dental Care for Other Children

Mobile dentistry will service low-income students

LARGO, Md. -- Children in Prince George's County will have better access to dental care after the death of a 12-year-old pushed lawmakers and the medical community to examine the issue.

Deamonte Driver died from a brain infection after his mother was unable to find a dentist to treat a tooth infection.

"His mother, despite her best efforts, could not get dental care for her boys," said Laurie Norris, of the Public Justice Center.

Elise Driver, Deamonte's mother, had a lapse in Medicaid coverage because she was temporarily homeless.

At the time, an abscessed tooth spread poisonous bacteria to Deamonte's brain.

A group of dentists -- with help from the state and other groups -- announced the Deamonte Driver Dental Project Thursday. It will pay for a van equipped with a dental facility to service low-income students in Prince George's County.

"It's a dentistry on wheels, and it's going to be a full-service dental clinic," said dentist Dr. Hazel Harper. "We have the ability to do preventive services as well as restorative services."

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The project also will increase reimbursements for dentists who provide treatment for patients on Medicaid.

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