Community dental anesthesiologists, A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Dentistry & Oral Health (ATSU-ASDOH) faculty, and dental students came together on March 25 to care for a healthy, 2.5 year-old with Severe Early Childhood Caries. “We would normally have sent him to a private practice, due to his age and severity of oral health problems,” said Joseph Creech, DDS, associate professor and director of pediatric dentistry, ATSU-ASDOH. “He was one of those children that falls between the cracks; not eligible for state aid through the AHCCCS program, and no private Insurance. In other words, without us, there would have been no treatment, due to no money.”
Fortunately for the patient, ATSU’s Smile Forward funds were available to provide his care. The ATSU Smile Forward program provides dental and oral healthcare for children, families and individuals who are without dental insurance or have minimal dental insurance benefits and demonstrate need.
In addition, Dr. Anthony Caputo, DDS, and Dr. Gregory Sikora, DMD, both dental anesthesiologists, provided anesthesia at a reduced fee that allowed the parents to invest in their child’s care, but be able to afford it. “In all we completed four crowns, two nerve treatments, four extractions and four sealants,” said Dr. Creech. “This was truly a collaborative effort.”
Sarah Usher, D3, ATSU-ASDOH and Joe Creech III, D3, ATSU-ASDOH, were afforded the opportunity to assist in the procedures. Both were able to obtain hands-on experience and great exposure to children’s dental issues and the capabilities of anesthesia. The students were involved with arranging the case, providing support care during the case, and finally providing restorative and surgical care with Dr. Creech’s supervision.