Thursday, March 10, 2011

Child Abused and Traumatized At Children’s Dental Group–Santa Ana, California

On March 2, 2011 4 1/2 year old “Sam” went to the dentist for his very 1st visit to the dentist.  His mom had prepared him for the visit by explaining what to the nice dentist would do, how the dentist was there to keep his teeth healthy let him ask question so that he was comfortable, maybe even be exited to be such a big boy and go see the dentist.

“Sam” is very bright, and articulate. He can express himself very well, and has been talking in full sentences since he was 2 years old. 

It’s very concerning to think that states are passing laws requiring children to have dental exam prior to starting school, when this is becoming the normal standard of care delivered by dentists here in the US.

Below “Sam’s” mom tells us what happened. 

Children's Dental Group-CaliforniaChildren’s Dental Group – Santa Ana, California

March 2, 2011

I went online and researched dentist offices in orange county, and attempted to find the most “kid friendly” practice, because my son had apprehension about going to the dentist and came across Children’s Dental Group.

I contacted this pediatric dentist office, they have several locations throughout Southern CA, and seemed to be a reputable, kid friendly office that my son would like.  I showed him the pictures of the dentist office online and he agreed that he would like to try this dentist.

His appointment was for cleaning, x-rays and exam.   We were called back to the examination room where we started to take the x-rays of his front teeth.  When it appeared he was unable to open his small mouth wide enough for the bitewings so x-rays could be taken of his baby molars we were told to go to the waiting room and the dental assistant would come get us.

The dental assistant soon came and told me they were going to take my son to another room for x-rays.  In this room they could put a spacer in his mouth to obtain the picture needed.  She insisted that I wait in the waiting room while the additional x-rays was taken. 

They handed me a form to sign as he was going back for the x-ray, telling me it was so they could use a  “hugging blanket” to keep him “safe and cozy”. 

I mistakenly thought was the lead filled blanket they cover people with when doing x-rays.   The mouth-prop mentioned on the form I clearly thought was the “spacer” to help with the x-rays.

[you can barely see  “hugging blanket”, and you sure can’t see it in use.  The picture on the form is dark and blurry, no doubt on purpose]

Here is the consent form

About 15 minutes later instead of the dental assistant coming to get me, Dr. Lisa Nguyen appeared.  I was shocked to learn not only were the x-rays complete but so was the cleaning, fluoride treatment and the examination.

She began to talk to me and explain my son’s dental health, going over a treatment plan that included a long list of additional dental procedures my son required.  I sat there trying to process how my 4 year old could need so much dental work, then the real shock came.

My son came out of the exam room.  Rushing toward me, he appeared shaken and upset.  As he neared I could see he was beat red, cheeks flushed, hyperventilating, and crying.

My son began to tell me that he could not move and he had been crying and yelling for me, and wanted me to come into the exam room.  I felt terrible, angry, upset and guilty for not being there for my son when he needed me so badly.

Then Dr. Nguyen proceeded to tell me not to “baby him” or “feel sorry for him”, because he was crying. 


My son was visibly distraught and upset and as his mother I’m not to console my 4 1/2 year old hysterically crying child?  Who was this woman?  Where did she come from and what did her parents do to her that messed her up this bad?

Immediately after, I was ushered to the check out desk to sign forms and get pricing for the list of additional work they wanted to perform on my child’s baby teeth.

My “little guy” said he was kicking and screaming as loud as he could for me to come, that both of his tennis shoes fell to the floor.  The dentist or assistant did not even bother to put them back on until they were going to bring him out to me.

The treatment plan was quite extensive and ran just shy of $4,000.  There was no way my child needed 9 baby root canals, 9 stainless steel crowns.  No way!

I am extremely upset that no one informed me of the type of distress he was experiencing, or the fact he so hysterical.  To hear him tell me he was yelling for me to come and I now know they had him strapped to this straight jacket device has broken my heart and I’ve not slept much since.

I am outraged about this “restraint practice” that was forced upon was my son for a simple dental exam.  I have never heard of this barbaric method used before for general dental exams or treatment for that matter.

I have been researching online regarding this brutal “limb restraint” practice for dentists, and have become disgusted at the entire dental community and doubt I will ever see what was once an honorable profession the same again.

I have reviewed American Academy of Pediatric DentistryGuideline on Behavior Guidance for the Pediatric Dental Patient” and clearly it states “stabilization” behavior technique should only be used “as a last resort” and “not used with nonsedated patients with nonemergent treatment”.  

Why was my son tied up and restrained in such a cruel, barbaric and uncivilized manner?

Clearly outlined under “Precautions” in this guideline and I quote:

 “Stabilization should be terminated as soon as possible in a patient who is experiencing severe stress or hysterics to PREVENT possible physical or psychological trauma

I am DISGUSTED by the way my son was treated at Children’s Dental Group!

I would NEVER consent to having my child strapped down for treatment knowing that regardless of his reactions, concerns, worries, or hysteria the dentist would continue to work, and I would not be notified. 

When would they come and get a parent? 

I was never told his cleaning or exam would be performed without my presence. I see now the x-ray excuse was a ploy to separate me from my child. 

I feel mislead and mistreated by this dental office, and am very upset about my son being barbarically restrained for the convenience of this dentist.  

Now he has consistently cried the last few nights and said his arms still hurt.

I have to wonder what else happened to my child and why kind of brute force was used to exam his teeth close enough to determine he needed the extensive amount of dental procedures.

My heart shutters to think about it. 

Not only did the dentist betray my little boy, I feel like I did too and I don’t know how to make this right.


“Sam” is a private pay patient.  I point this out to remind readers that this is exclusive to Medicaid patients.

Dr. Lisa Vo Nguyen
California Dental Lic number – 53203
No Disciplinary Actions taken, but that doesn’t mean there is not a file full of complaints.
NPI number – 1508912874
Children’s Dental Group
2144 S. Bristol St.
Santa Ana, CA  92704-5123

Children’s Dental Group, Inc
Owner – Scott Thomas Jacks, DDS
California Dental Lic number – 24464
No Disciplinary Actions taken - but that doesn’t mean there is not a file full of complaints.


Reviews of Children’s Dental Group

There are a couple of sites with 5 stars for this clinic, however, if you look closely they were all either the same day or within a couple of days of each other.  This is common as many of the “raving” online reviews are the one and the same person or staff making false and misleading reviews.  You can usually tell the real stories from the false ones.

1.  These are not ped specialist dentist. A pediatric dentist has special training and are board certified.
I had a pediatric dentist back east, when we moved to Norwalk I checked out Children's Dental Group. What I noticed was an awful lot of dopey looking, tramized kids leaving that office after treatment. They told me they wanted to drug my kids and put them in a mummy wrap in order to do the work necessary. I declined. Found a board certified pediatric dentist and I am very happy.
When I was at Children's Dental Group I had asked point blank-this was when I was considering whether or not to continue treatment-if the dentist were ped specialist. They said yes, when I asked to see the board certificate, they said that ONE of the dentist have board certification but that ALL of them had experience with children.
Do not be fooled, there is a difference. And you always know which kids in Norwalk have gone to Children's Dental Group- they are the ones with all the silver caps in front of their teeth.
Oh, I should also add that the Dentist at Children's Dental Group wanted to do a bunch of fillings, that the dentist I went to afterwards said were not needed.

2. This dental office has very friendly assistants, but terrible scheduling. You'll never get in and out in a timely manner. I personally like the dental side although it is very delayed, at least my children are comfortable.***STAY AWAY FROM THE ORTHODONTIST/BRACES SERVICES because then you will face a major challenge with only 1 doctor who only works ~10 - 15 hours a week; no evening or weekends. You will need to have your child miss school in order to succeed with this ortho services. I love the girls attitude towards my kids, but have had many issues with scheduling and staying on top of my the doctors schedule in order to finish my girls treatment. I would not recommend this office for ortho