Grant gives Children's Medical Center tools for dental suite

February 16, 2012 - Kelley Chambers

Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc., Children's Medical Center at Legacy will soon have the tools needed to care for its patients' teeth as well as the rest of their bodies.

In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, the hospital invited members of the community to tour the new suite on Tuesday and meet with members from the hospital's dental program and Encana. Hospital staff and Encana also handed out new toothbrushes to the young patients to encourage proper dental health.

Encana's grant will allow the hospital to expand its existing dental program and add additional pre-op facilities, as well as an expanded procedure suite. After learning that one in every five procedures performed at Children's Medical Center at Legacy is dental-focused, the energy provider began working with the hospital to fill the need for expanded services.

"Access to pediatric dental rehabilitative services is sometimes one of the greatest challenges for families with a child in need of care," said Don McClure, vice president of government and stakeholder relations and legal for Encana in a release. "As its new neighbor in Plano, Encana Oil & Gas is pleased to partner with Children's Medical Center in expanding its acute dental rehabilitation operating facilities serving the north Dallas area."

Because the medical center does everything from put in ear tubes to treat cancer, being able to also offer rehabilitative dental services is essential for avoiding complications that may impact the child's treatment and recovery, said Carol Schauer, major gift officer at Children's.

"The minor procedure suite will be used for procedures or surgeries that are probably not as intricate and require a little bit shorter time that the child has to be under anesthesia," Schauer said. "Unfortunately, young children may have to have a root canal or have tooth removed -- sometimes this can happen in very young children if there's an infection or a formation that's incorrect and has to be adjusted. There's also so much work being done with cleft palates and different congenital anomalies. Quite often, a children's illness can impact their general and dental health."

While the hospital already had the space, Encana's donation will now enable it to purchase the equipment necessary to perform the procedures, such as an anesthesia machine and other surgical instruments, Schauer said. Now, they can begin performing procedures that the Dallas campus has been doing for years.

"We didn't have the depth and the breadth of dental services at our Legacy campus as we do at the Dallas center, but now we will be able to offer a pretty substantial amount of rehabilitative dentistry," she said. "We are fortunate to have several great dentists that work for us."

Children's Medical Center is the fifth largest pediatric health care provider in the country, with two full-service campuses and 10 outpatient sites. Children's was also the state's first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the only pediatric teaching facility in North Texas.


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