A dental practice in Northeast Pennsylvania has recently sent out a controversial letter that's been making it's rounds on social media lately.
Smiles 4 Keeps Pediatric Dentistry in Bartonsville, Pennsylvania sent a letter to a mother threatening to call Child Protective Services if she did not schedule a dental appointment for her child.
According to the mother, Trey Hoyumpa of Stroudsburg, it all started when her visits began to bring up red flags. She says she was not allowed to go into the patient area with her children and never met the dentist themselves.
Hoyumpa To Hazleton News 1:
"When a stranger INSISTS on taking my children away from me , my guard is up. Tell me, why would they do that if they weren’t concerned about parents watching. So YES, I thought they could be in danger. Every. Single. Time."
After being told that she could only bring one child at a time due to office policy, she decided to take her children to another practice. That's when she received the above letter.
In the above letter, Smiles 4 Keeps threatens to call Child Protective Services if she did not bring her child to one of their "Smile Centers".
The letter cites PA Act 31 of 2014, CHILD ABUSE RECOGNITION AND REPORTING CONTINUING EDUCATION PROVIDERS. Under act 31, dental professionals can report parents for neglect if the parents neglect to provide dental care for their children.
With Smiles 4 Keeps not knowing for sure whether or not children are taken to another dentist, it is clear that their office is using letters such as the one in question to threaten parents into bringing children into their office.
Smiles 4 Keeps has replied to the original post with a post of their own, defending their actions.
In their post, Smiles 4 Keeps states:
• The letter in question refers to dentists’ legal obligation to report dental neglect to the proper authorities. In its Guideline on Oral and Dental Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines the term and clarifies its importance. The full document is available for review here: http://www.aapd.org/me…/Policies_Guidelines/G_Childabuse.pdf. Here is an excerpt:
The incident has been covered both nationally and worldwide with opinions falling on both sides of the argument.
Smiles 4 Keeps notes that they have had to remove negative comments and reviews from their Facebook page after the story began being spread.
What is your opinion?
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