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."

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

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