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A brave smile

OneWorld Pediatric Dental team helps eight-year-old patient improve oral health

Spencer Burton, DDS, Associate Director of Pediatric Dental Services, sees patients at the OneWorld Pediatric Dental Clinic.

When eight-year-old *Daniela began her dental treatment in June 2023, she was experiencing a considerable amount of pain in her mouth. At the same time, her life was drastically changing as her aunt and uncle were earning custody of her because her father had been deported.

To help decrease her pain, Spencer Burton, DDS, Associate Director of Pediatric Dental Services, extracted three of Daniela’s teeth.

Daniela does not qualify for Medicaid, but Angelica Vallin, Pediatric Dental Clinic Office Manager, explained to her aunt, uncle and caseworker that Daniela could apply for OneWorld’s Sliding Fee Scale to help the dental treatment be more affordable.

“It was obvious that Daniela was going to need a lot of treatment,” said Vallin. “But what was amazing was after Daniela was set up on our sliding fee scale, her case worker called our office and informed us that they were going to cover all of Daniela’s dental expenses.”

At her next appointment in August 2023, Daniela received three fillings.

Daniela and her aunt and uncle travel from Fremont, Nebraska, using transportation services set up by Daniela’s caseworker. However, after her appointment in August, the transportation service did not have a car seat, and so they could not take Daniela and her aunt back.

Vallin said they got in touch with Daniela’s caseworker, who immediately drove from Fremont with a car seat so they could get back home.

“With all that she has going on, it has been wonderful to see Daniela’s aunt, uncle and caseworker step up to make sure she has the support she needs,” said Vallin.

In December 2023, Daniela had several crowns completed. She is currently on schedule to be seen at the OneWorld Pediatric Dental Clinic every three months to address her extensive treatment needs.

“Daniela’s treatment involves both the primary and permanent teeth,” said Dr. Burton. “Fortunately, she has been very brave and allowed us to complete our work.”

Vallin said Daniela is shy, but is starting to smile back at Vallin when she comes to the office for treatment, a sign that Daniela is feeling better and is more comfortable with the team.

At the OneWorld Pediatric Dental Clinic, the clinic is designed to be an anxiety-reducing, comfortable environment. The clinic officially opened in March 2023, and Vallin said the new space has made a positive impact for every patient and parent/guardian.

“The children love the Minecraft theme, and that there are games for them to play when they come to our clinic,” said Vallin. “I think many children come in nervous, but leave happy, and that means our goal of normalizing dental care and making it a positive experience is working.”

In addition to the new clinic, Dr. Burton performs oral surgery under anesthesia for children with extensive treatment needs, special health care needs or behavioral needs, through a partnership with Children’s Nebraska. In 2023, Dr. Burton completed oral surgery for 115 children.

“Dr. Burton does a wonderful job of connecting with his patients and making them feel comfortable,” said Vallin. “This clinic does so much for the children in our community.”

*Name has been changed to protect the patient’s privacy.

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