Cornwall Sleep Dentistry for Kids is owned by Dr. Daniel Hovsepian, who runs several private dental clinics serving a large part of Quebec and Eastern Ontario. Dr. Hovsepian, known as Dr. Dan, started working in Akwesasne in 2008 and has offered services in Cornwall since 2015.
Dr. Dan is very passionate about what he does and his ‘why’ is very simple: he believes that kids should not be forced to wait for important dental procedures.
Until recently, sleep dentistry for children was only performed in hospitals. Unfortunately, this meant a lot of children with toothaches, oral abscesses, and infections ended up on waitlists for one or more hospitals.
Cornwall Sleep Dentistry for Kids offers everything in-house, so parents don’t have to travel far for services. Even though it’s a private clinic, they accept every type of insurance, including Healthy Smiles Ontario. This model is very different from clinics in bigger cities like Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, who bill parents privately and don’t accept public insurance programs. Patients who cannot pay for treatment at these clinics are referred to hospitals with one to two-year wait times.
“Our goal is to take care of the children who need our services and to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible because there is a lot of negatives that the child will carry forever if we don’t take care of them and get rid of that pain early,” said Dr. Dan.
Three reasons why it is detrimental to make children wait for dental care:
- Impact on Physical Growth
Children are always growing. For their body and organs to develop properly they need proper nutrition, but when you’re in pain, you don’t want to eat. Children suffering from dental pain will often fight eating at home or in the cafeteria at school which affects their physical growth.
- Impact on Attention/Learning
When a child is in pain and not eating or sleeping properly, it’s going to make it very hard to listen at school and at home. These kids are too busy trying to manage their pain to absorb what they are being told by family and teachers, which affects their mental development.
- Impact on Self-Esteem
The last thing that is a huge problem, that people don’t even necessarily think of, is self-esteem. When a child looks in the mirror and sees teeth that are brown or black, maybe broken, they’re not going to be comfortable smiling. That affects a child for a very long time and maybe their entire life.
“Our model is to resolve these issues and see patients who can’t afford private treatment,” Dr. Dan explained, “We help kids so they can eat well, listen in school, smile when they want to smile, and talk when they want to talk.”
Dr. Dan works with a dedicated group of dentists, medical anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists, and anesthesia assistants. Since they’re a large group of providers, they cater their schedule to the demand for services. This means they can process anywhere from 40 to 60 referrals per month and have the resources to treat each of those patients within 6 to 8 weeks.
“It allows us to really work as we are needed and never have a waitlist like hospitals,” he said.
“We are located in the McConnell Medical Center, it’s a space everybody knows. Providers as far as Montreal and Toronto come to take care of the children in Cornwall. That’s how dedicated our team is. I essentially shop around for the best people for this task, people who also feel a certain satisfaction for helping people.”
The result? Parents who are extremely grateful for the opportunity to have their kids treated quickly and avoid prolonged pain, regardless of their financial situation.
“Imagine as a mother, not only is your child in pain but he suffers from autism. Maybe you’re a single mother and your income is very low. It’s a real gift to them that we can see them, treat them, do so very quickly and efficiently, and we can do it when their child is comfortably asleep and not feeling anything whatsoever. They’re not forced to wait in the typical and unfortunate public system,” he added.
Once a child is referred to Cornwall Sleep Dentistry for Kids, the team calls them in for a consultation within two to four weeks. During the consultation, the team explains how the procedure is going to go and gives specific instructions on what the patient should or shouldn’t eat before surgery. The surgery is booked in the next two to four weeks.
“I don’t refer to that as a wait time; I think in today’s day and age its usually much longer,” said Dr. Hovsepian, “We like to nip that in the bud and get them in right away.”
“A lot of people think dentistry is not as important as medical, but I can assure you that dental infections and abscesses can and have killed children because they have gone untreated. We will never risk making somebody wait. Body development, brain development, and self esteem are very important but overall keeping the child alive by treating them as quickly as possible is of utmost importance.”