A California clinic is under investigation after county health officials say seven children were hospitalized with a serious bacterial infection after receiving the same dental procedure.
Eight children have since been diagnosed with slowly progressive oral cellulitis, a bacterial infection in the mouth that can spread into the gum and bones, according to officials.
According to the agency, the children were patients at Children’s Dental Group of Anaheim, between May 3 and Aug. 2, where they received pulpotomy treatments, commonly referred to as “baby root canals.”
Health officials received reports of children falling ill after undergoing the procedure; eight children showed signs of “slowly progressive oral cellulitis”—a bacterial infection of the mouth. Seven of those children were hospitalized at Children’s Hospital Orange County, including three-year-old Gibran.
Three-year-old Gibran Baron is one of the children being closely monitored and treated with IV antibiotics after a teacher noticed a lump in his cheek.
“You take your child to the dentist thinking everything’s going to go well, you’re going to go in and come out, but it didn’t happen like that,” his cousin told CBS News.
Gibran underwent surgery to remove an abscess and is being treated with IV antibiotics. The agency believes the infections are derived from water used in equipment during the procedure.
“We are doing everything, whether it’s sterilization or anything else that relates to taking care of the patients. We are on it,” said Samuel Gruenbaum, CEO of Children’s Dental Group, reported CBS News.
But, doctors had to operate on little Gibran to remove an abscess after he received the dental procedure in May.
“I have not seen these types of cases in the 10 years I’ve been here,” said Dr. Eric Handler, the public health officer in charge of investigating the clinic.
Up to 500 children who have had the procedure done at Children’s Dental Group are being contacted in an attempt to curb the slow growing infection, which Handler said is resistant to treatment, and needs to be handled quickly.
“We are doing everything,” Children’s Dental Group CEO Samuel Gruenbaum said in a statement to the press, “whether its sterilization or anything else that relates to taking care of the patients. We are on it.”
Gruenbaum also stated: “The number of patients affected has been a very small percentage of those who have received pulpotomy treatment at our Anaheim office.”
The dental office boasts unfavorable Yelp reviews, with complaints of poor customer service, untrustworthiness, dirty facilities, and cases of misdiagnosis.
The California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Dental Board of California are working with the healthcare agency and are still seeking the source of the infections.
The clinic has agreed to stop performing the procedure as the investigation continues.