In February 2007, 12-year-old, seventh grader Deamonte Driver died after complications from an abscessed tooth. His mother, Alyce, who worked a low-paying job, could not find a dentist who would accept Medicaid and perform the routine $80 extraction to treat Deamonte's toothache. As a result, bacteria from the untreated tooth infection spread to his brain. After two surgeries and six weeks of hospital care, Deamonte died. His operations, hospital care and therapy totaled approximately $250,000.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease – five times more common than asthma.