How does Kool Smiles ensure its dentists are providing the highest quality of care?
Kool Smiles is a dentist-owned and managed organization. Our licensed and trained dentists have full autonomy in treatment decisions and treatment plans, are mission driven and care deeply for the communities they serve. Our treatment protocols follow the guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association (ADA) and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
In addition to a robust clinical auditing and quality system, Kool Smiles uses an advanced electronic health records (EHR) system in all offices to measure and report on clinical compliance. The system is closely monitored by our dental clinical leaders to help ensure that all dentists are in compliance with professional standards.
Kool Smiles dentists have at least one clinical audit per year, with the average dentist participating in at least two clinical audits per year. As an added layer of quality assurance, Kool Smiles also requires all new dentists to obtain digital x-rays after select procedures, which are reviewed by experienced dentists.
How is the appropriate treatment for patients decided upon at Kool Smiles?
Following a full examination and review of the child’s health history, a licensed dentist – often in collaboration with other dentists – recommends every treatment plan. This involves a consultation with the child’s parent or guardian to explain the treatment options, alternatives, and potential benefits and risks associated with each alternative, including the option to defer treatment. The child’s parent or guardian must approve and give consent to the treatment plan before any procedure is performed.
Many patients who come to a Kool Smiles office have never been to a dentist. As a result, some first-time patients come to us with significant tooth decay. Kool Smiles dentists follow the guidelines issued by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). These guidelines can be found here.
What is Kool Smiles’ protocol for procedures involving operative care?
Our dedicated dentists and anesthesiologists are licensed dental and medical professionals who are committed to providing pediatric dental care in a safe and compassionate environment. Parents are required to be present for all operative procedures, including those involving sedation.
Parents or guardians are first presented with a range of treatment options, depending on factors such as the patient’s age, behavior and specific dental needs. Treatment options, alternatives, and potential benefits and risks associated with each alternative are explained to the parent or guardian, including the option to defer treatment. The child’s parent or guardian must approve and give consent to the treatment plan before any procedure is performed. Treatment options may also include the use of nitrous oxide or advanced behavior guidance techniques, such as general anesthesia to make the patient comfortable during treatment.
Kool Smiles follows a strict set of protocols for dental procedures when general anesthesia is used. These protocols generally exceed what is required by law and by dental practice guidelines. Kool Smiles employs a dentist—typically a pediatric dentist—and a dedicated anesthesiologist for procedures involving general anesthesia. These healthcare professionals are specially trained in the use of anesthesia in a pediatric setting and are supported by qualified staff. Both the dentist and anesthesiologist are certified in Pediatric Advance Life Support (PALS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).
While dentists who are performing a procedure are often permitted by law to administer anesthesia, Kool Smiles believes to help ensure patient safety, a dedicated anesthesiologist should administer the anesthesia so that the dentist can focus on the dental procedure at hand.
General anesthesia is administered only with the informed, written consent of the parent or guardian following an explanation of the risks, benefits and alternatives to anesthesia, and only after conducting a careful review of the child’s health history. After that evaluation, a separate, follow-up appointment is then scheduled for the actual operatory procedure.
Our general anesthesia treatment protocols follow the guidelines and best practices established by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Medical Association (AMA). These guidelines can be found here.
How involved are parents in their child’s dental treatment and procedures at Kool Smiles?
Parental engagement and open communication are key components of the Kool Smiles experience. Every child’s appointment begins with a consultation explaining what the visit will entail, including treatment options, alternatives and potential risks/benefits, and what the child and parent should expect. Because we want parents to be fully involved and understand all treatment options, multilingual staff and qualified interpreters are available to speak with non-English speaking families. As with any other medical procedure, no child can be treated without the informed, written consent of his or her parent or guardian.
Parents are welcome to accompany their children during treatment, and a majority opt to do so.
How does Kool Smiles give back to the community?
We’ve partnered extensively with local schools, daycares and community organizations to provide much needed oral health screenings and supplies free of charge. Since 2005, Kool Smiles has provided more than $128 million in uncompensated dental care to children who didn’t have insurance or whose parents couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket, simply because it was in the best interest of the children and their health. Our community engagement and education programs include Operation Troop Treats, the largest Halloween candy exchange program by a dental provider in the United States; Sharing Smiles Day, a free day of dental care exclusively for children; free dental health lesson plans and dental kits for K-5 classrooms; scholarship programs to help educate future dental health professionals; and mission trips to communities outside the United States to bring needed dental care to children in need.
Note: Kool Smiles does not provide dental care in schools or engage in mobile dentistry. Parents of children with identified dental needs are encouraged to visit a Kool Smiles office to receive treatment.