As defined by the Canadian Dental Association, the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada, " Paediatric Dentistry is that branch and specialty of dentistry concerned with providing primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral health diagnosis, care and consultative expertise for infants and children through adolescence, including those of all ages with special care needs." (JCDA, May 2003, Vol. 69, No. 5)
Dr. Raymond Lee is the Staff Paediatric Dentist and Co-Site Chief. He is a certified paediatric specialist and provides dental care to children (0-17 years old) and to special needs patients of all ages. At the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, he is an Adjunct Professor and cross-appointed in the Department of Paediatric Surgery.
Staff dentists and the dental residents/fellows also provide paediatric dental care. The residents/fellows are fully qualified dentists who have voluntarily decided to undertake an extra year of training in hospital dentistry prior to moving into private practice or into post-graduate specialty programs. Because we are a teaching hospital, the residents/fellows, under the direct supervision of Dr. Lee and/or the staff dentists, may treat patients referred to Paediatric Dentistry.
Treatment may be provided in the clinic or in the operating room, as needed. Treatment in the clinic can be assisted with the use of "laughing gas" (nitrous oxide) and/or oral sedation (Versed/Midazolam). Treatment provided is dependent on the individual needs of each patient.
Who is treated in the Paediatric Dentistry clinic?
Paediatric Dentistry provides complete dental care for those who meet eligibility criteria:
- Medically compromised children.
- Special needs children and adults, including the developmentally, mentally and/or physically challenged.
- Children suffering from acute trauma and/or severe infection that represent a medical emergency.
- Healthy children who may need specialized care, such as conscious sedation or general anaesthesia, due to the scope of treatment and/or behavioural concerns. In general and in consensus with the Paediatric Hospital Dental Chiefs of Canada (PHDCC), this "healthy" child is 3 years old or younger.
Children with chronic and/or significant medical conditions, as outlined in the eligibility criteria, may continue to have treatment at the dental clinic until the age of 18 years. Healthy children may be referred back to community-based dentists after initial treatment is completed.
How are patients seen in the Paediatric Dentistry clinic?
Paediatric dentistry patients are accepted only by a written referral from a physician or dentist. Clinic visits are by appointment only.
All referrals are screened first for appropriateness and then triaged to determine urgency. Qualified patients are scheduled for a consultation at their first appointment. Patients who don't qualify will have their referral returned.
Is there a cost for treatment in the Paediatric Dentistry clinic?
The clinic operates as any other private paediatric dental office. There is a fee for all dental services provided. Furthermore, as in any other dental specialist's office, fees for services provided by specialists are often slightly more than fees for the same services provided by community-based dentists.
There is often a misconception that because the clinic is in the hospital that services are covered by the government. In general, this is not true. The patient is responsible for the cost of all dental services rendered. It is the responsibility of the patient's caregiver to bring their Ontario health card and all insurance information.
There are some subsidized programs available for children, special needs patients and the severely medically compromised. However, it is the responsibility of the patient's parent/guardian/caregiver to bring the appropriate forms and to make arrangements for payment prior to treatment. In general, the patient will be billed for services rendered at the time of the appointment and payment is also due at the time of treatment.