12-year-old Deamonte Driver Dies from Lack of Access to Dental Care

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.

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