The Dental Board of California has confirmed it is investigating the death of a young Oakland boy, Dũng Lý. The four-year-old lost consciousness after receiving anesthesia during a dental procedure at Youthful Tooth in Oakland, according to a relative’s GoFundMe page.
He was pronounced dead at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital on April 25th.
The Dental Board has confirmed the investigation, but all complaints and investigations are confidential until the board comes to a decision. The coroner’s office has yet to determine cause of death, according to Ray Kelly, spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
“Our pathologist is consulting with experts in the dental field and has a lot of lab tests, including toxicology, to complete before a determination can be made,” he said.
On the GoFundMe page, Dũng’s cousin juxtaposed details of the child’s death with descriptions of his life, as a happy boy who had recently moved with his family from Vietnam. The page’s stated goal is to help his parents afford a funeral and cremation, and it had raised $8,300 as of Friday.
In 2015, Bay Area six-year-old Caleb Sears died in a dentist’s chair while under general anesthesia. His family lobbied for a state bill requiring dentists to have a dedicated anesthesiologist monitoring patients during procedures, which failed under heavy lobbying pressure from major dental industry groups. The current law allows dental assistants with limited training to monitor patients’ breathing.
Youthful Tooth has received at least 34 negative reviews on social media over the last seven years, including several that mentioned the use of anesthesia or sedating young patients.
A staff member reached at the practice’s Pinole location declined to comment.
Dental board investigates a 4-year-old’s death after dentist’s visit