A mother was reported to a social services agency for neglect because she switched dentists.
When Melissa Lopez sought a second opinion about her daughter’s teeth, she found herself reported for “oral neglect.”
“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd,” the Canadian mom told the CBC. “I couldn’t believe it.”
The trouble began when a dentist told Lopez that her daughter Elianna had nine cavities and required thousands of dollars’ worth of dental work. Not confident in the diagnosis, Lopez decided to seek a second opinion from another dentist. The other dentist found that Elianna required a lot less dental work, so Lopez went there.
Reported by the Dentist
Lopez forgot to notify the first dentist of the change, so that dentist notified the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The Children’s Aid Society is the name for child protective services in Ontario, where Lopez lives.
The CAS called Lopez in June and told her that she was being investigated for oral neglect. The matter was quickly resolved when Lopez provided the agency with proof of dental work, but there’s now a permanent file on the matter.
“It will always be there, 10, 15, 20 years from now,” Lopez said of the file. “I’m red-flagged, I’ve been marked, and there’s no reason for this to have happened.”
The dentist who reported Lopez was obeying the law. Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act requires all healthcare professionals to report suspicions of abuse and neglect to the CAS, said Kevin Marsh, the director of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.
“Health-care professionals and other people who work closely with children have a special responsibility under the act,” Marsh told CBC.
That means little to Lopez, though. She believes she did nothing wrong.
“I would absolutely love it if they would just remove that file for me, because I don’t feel there was any just reason to report me in the first place,” Lopez said.
She never received a letter from the first dentist with a warning.
“As a mother, you pride yourself on how you raise your kids. I have three kids — they’re healthy, they’re happy, they do great in school, they have lots of friends,” Lopez said.
“For someone to turn around and try to accuse me of neglecting her, it’s absurd.”
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