8 kids suffer infections from root canals done by Anaheim dental office

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- At least eight children developed severe bacterial infections after receiving root canals at a Children's Dental Group location in Anaheim.

The Orange County Health Care Agency said seven of the eight children were hospitalized for treatment with a combined antibiotic therapy.

According to the health department, the children suffered mycobacterium abscessus, which is a bacteria that causes a slow progressing infection of the soft tissues or bone. The infection can take 15 to 85 days after the procedure to develop.

All of the children received a procedure similar to a root canal performed on baby teeth at the dental office, located at 2156 E. Lincoln Ave., between May 3 and Aug. 2 of this year. Because the incubation period can take a long time and the practice did not stop performing the procedures until Sept. 6, the agency believes there may be more cases.

The dental group is working with the health agency to assess the situation and figure out how the infections may have started. Health officials believe it may have been linked to water used during the procedures.

No other cases have been found at other dental offices or Children's Dental Group locations.

The clinic is also reaching out to all of its patients - about 500 - who received root canals since May 3 to come in for an evaluation.

"To protect the health and safety of our patients, upon seeing this we began a review and testing of our systems, equipment, water and other elements in the office," said Sam Gruenbaum, CEO of Children's Dental Group.

Anyone with questions or who may have a possible infection is urged to call the Orange County Health Care Agency Epidemiology Program at (714)834-8180.
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