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14-month-old toddler dies after unnecessary 'routine' dental procedure


(NaturalNews) The death of a toddler while undergoing a "routine" dental procedure would be extremely tragic under any circumstances, but the parents of 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres must have experienced a whole new level of grief when a subsequent autopsy revealed that the girl did not actually have any signs of dental problems in the first place.

Torres' parents brought her to Austin Children's Dentistry where Dr. Michael Melanson said that she had six cavities and would need four crowns and two fillings to repair them. The little girl was put under anesthesia for the procedure and went into cardiac arrest. She was brought to the hospital where she later died.

Forensic odontologist Robert Williams wrote in the autopsy: "One can only speculate as to why any treatment was performed considering no indication of dental disease or pathology was seen in the dental radiographs (x-rays) in the dental visit dated 03/29/2016."

While he conceded that the teeth might have possibly had some congenital enamel defects, these were not necessarily of a type that would warrant treatment at Daisy's age. He added that her records did not indicate that she had reported any type of pain, nor was a pulp vitality test carried out.

Dr. Williams is now being sued by Austin Children's Dentistry for defamation and disparagement by libel. They say that several independent pediatric dental experts have reviewed the case and found that dental disease was indeed present, and are asking that the Medical Examiner's report be corrected.

According to KXAN, written records do not show any decay during a dental visit the girl made last July.

Anesthesia often given to children for dental procedures

The girl's mother, Betty Squier, explained that they brought her in on the morning of March 29 to fill two cavities, but while under anesthesia, were told that the little girl actually had six cavities that needed to be filled. Squier had been nervous about having her daughter sedated, but felt it was the right choice given the girl's age. While experts generally advise against the use of anesthesia when possible to avoid risking complications, children are sometimes sedated for such procedures so that they don't injure themselves, since they have difficulty sitting still.

A report released by Austin Children's Dentistry indicated that Dr. Melanson would be suspended indefinitely while the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners carried out its investigation.

While the dental office is quick to point out that Daisy's death was caused by anesthesia complications and not by the dental procedure itself, the fact remains that the girl would not have been undergoing anesthesia in the first place had her parents not been told that the dental procedure was necessary.

Four-year-old left brain damaged after dental procedure

Daisy's case is not the only questionable incident involving a Texas children's dentist to have taken place recently. Four-year-old Nevaeh Hall suffered brain damage earlier this year, after experiencing multiple seizures during a dental visit to pull and cap a few teeth that were suffering decay. She was left unable to talk, walk, see or eat. She was given five sedatives and kept sedated in the office for more than seven hours, while also being placed in a restraint device. The dentist in that case, Bethaniel Jefferson, had already been disciplined and fined on two past occasions by the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

It's easy to see how well-meaning parents might be coerced into subjecting their children to dental procedures. If a dentist recommends a procedure that sounds extreme or requires anesthesia, however, it would be a good idea to get a second and even a third opinion. In addition, regular tooth brushing and consuming a diet that is very low in sugar and high in vegetables can help reduce the chances of children developing dental problems.

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