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Dental Care Tough to Find for People with Autism, Other Developmental Disorders

April 22, 2019
by David Tuller, The Washington Post


When Ava Terranove began feeling oral pain last July, her parents took her to her regular dentist. The dentist determined that Ava, who has an autism-like condition, needed two root canal procedures to treat infected teeth.

Because of her developmental disability, Ava, now 15, requires general anesthesia for nonroutine dental work. The dentist, like most of his peers, was not equipped to provide it.

The girl’s parents, schoolteachers who live in Huntington Beach, Calif., called other dental offices in the region. They were turned down dozens of times before finally finding a dentist prepared to work with an anesthesiologist to treat their daughter.

But there was a hitch: Insurance would not cover general anesthesia for root canals. So Ava’s parents decided to pay the $2,400 from their savings to ensure their daughter received prompt care.

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