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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — At least seven children have been hospitalized after getting the same procedure at a California dental clinic and hundreds of more children could be at risk.
Doctors are closely monitoring 3-year-old Gibran and treating him with IV antibiotics after they operated to remove an abscess caused by a suspected dangerous bacterial infection all just from going to the dentist.
“Yes, you take your child to a dentist thinking everything’s going to go well, you’re going to go in and come out, but it didn’t happen like that. Now, he had an infection,” said Gibran’s cousin Stephanie Baron.
His parents had taken him to the Children’s Dental Group in Anaheim, California, in may for a common procedure called a Pulpotomy, also known as a “baby root canal.”
Health officials say he’s one of more than half a dozen children who had the procedure at the same clinic, then developed symptoms of a serious and potentially life-threatening infection.
“It’s very resistant to treatment and needs to be taken care of quickly,” said Dr. Eric Handler with the Orange Health Care Agency County.
Doctor Handler is a public health officer with the Orange County Health Care Agency investigating the clinic.
“I have not seen these types of cases in the 10 years that I’ve been here,” said Handler.
The clinic has agreed to stop performing the procedure for now.
“We are doing everything, whether its sterilization or anything else that relates to taking care of the patients. We are on it,” said Samuel Gruenbaum, CEO of the Children’s Dental Group.
Because the bacteria can progress slowly, health officials say they’re contacting 500 children who had the procedure as far back as May. All seven kids who were hospitalized have developed abscesses, which can take up to six months to appear.
“It makes your heart stop a little, like what’s going on,” said Baron.
Health officials are working to locate the source of the bacteria, which they say is most likely water used in equipment during the procedure.
Results are expected next week.