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Is Dental Neglect Reasonably Enforceable?

Blischak Law discusses whether or not dental neglect can be reasonably enforced.

As parents, we have certain responsibilities when it comes to the care of our children. One such duty is to protect their physical health and welfare. This includes oral health. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry dental neglect is “the willful failure of a parent or guardian to seek and follow through with treatment necessary to ensure a level of oral health essential for adequate function and freedom from pain and infection.” 

The oral health of our children is of great importance because when left untreated, periodontal disease and oral conditions can cause pain, infection, or even loss of function in the most serious cases. When this occurs it can have an effect on their development including their learning, communication, and even their nutrition. 

The reasons for which parents and guardians fail to get their child proper dental care because of tough situations or even just poor parenting. These reasons include:

  • Inadequate finances
  • Parental Ignorance
  • Family isolation
  • Lack of understanding as to the importance of oral health

A Responsibility for Maintenance of Care

No matter the reason though a parent or guardian remains responsible for maintaining the care of the child in his or her care. However, before an individual may be considered negligent he or she must be properly alerted by a health care professional about the specific condition and mandatory treatment for the child as well as how such treatment may be accessed. 

Medical Professionals Must Help Parents Understand

If a doctor or dentist notices that a child is suffering from dental neglect, he or she must ensure that the child’s parents or guardians understand the potential consequences of such disease, neglect, etc. and how it may affect the child. They must also try to assist the child’s caregiver with anything that is creating a barrier to the proper care of their child. This may include anything from access to necessary public facilities to transportation or financial aid. The professional should also ensure that the child’s parent or guardian understands that the child will be safe during the procedure. 

If all of these requirements are met and the parents or guardians still fail to obtain the proper treatment for the child, the physician or dentist is obligated to report the neglect to the appropriate child protective services. 

Potential Problems with Execution

While a medical professional can identify whether a child’s oral health care has been neglected simply by looking at them, what is problematic is that neglected children are often not brought in to be seen by medical professionals. If a doctor or dentist has no physical exposure to the child, the execution of charging for this crime proves nearly impossible to determine. The professional may also believe that another doctor or dentist is treating the child. 

Blischak Law Helps Those in Phoenix Who Have Been Charged with Neglect

A conviction of neglect is very serious and can have a profound impact on many aspects of your life. That is why the experienced Arizona Criminal Defense Attorneys at Blischak Law will fight to minimize – or even eliminate – the charges against you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

Posted in: Criminal Defense