Oct. 12, 2021 – Healthcare Network dentist Dr. Alexander Ziegler has received certification to perform pediatric moderate sedation by The Florida Board of Dentistry. The certification allows Dr. Ziegler to administer oral sedation to pediatric patients who may suffer from severe dental anxiety, need several procedures to be done during a single visit, and/or have a medical, physical or emotional disability that limits their ability to understand directions and remain calm.

The new sedation program, available at the Nichols Community Health Center’s pediatric dental practice, furthers Healthcare Network’s commitment to reduce health disparities in underserved populations by improving access to appropriate dental care for thousands of at-risk children living in Golden Gate and nearby communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) children at most risk for tooth decay and oral disease are from lower socioeconomic families where barriers to care such as caregiver low health literacy, language proficiency, dental insurance and geographic access are prevalent. Additionally, access to dental care is also greatly limited by the number of dentists who accept Medicaid or provide variable fees for the uninsured. 

“Many families delay preventative dental care for their child due to affordability and/or the inaccurate belief that baby teeth are not important,” said Dr. Douglas Keck, dental director for Healthcare Network. “As a result, we often see children who are experiencing severe pain and infection during their first ever dental visit. The discomfort, coupled with possible fears about the procedure, can be overwhelming. Offering moderate sedation will help ease discomfort and anxiety in these situations and during preventive services where a child may need help to remain calm.”

Healthcare Network has been breaking down barriers to primary health services for the community since 1977 and no one is denied service based on insurance or income status. In addition to caring for Medicaid patients, payment assistance in the form of a Sliding Fee Discount that reduces fees on services for qualified patients is available. Patient eligibility is based on annual income and household size.

For more information on pediatric moderate sedation visit www.HealthcareSWFL.org to learn more or call 239-658-3000 to schedule an appointment.

About Healthcare NetworkHealthcare Network is committed to ensuring quality healthcare is accessible to everyone in our community, regardless of income or insurance status. Founded in 1977 to serve migrant farmworkers and their families in Immokalee, Healthcare Network now provides care to approximately 50,000 patients annually in practices throughout Collier County including the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® and the Health and Smiles Mobile units. Healthcare Network provides primary healthcare services including family care, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, senior care, and pharmacy as well as dental care and integrated behavioral health for both adults and children. The organization’s newest location, the Nichols Community Health Center, is a 51,000-square-foot primary care medical center in Golden Gate. For more information, visit www.HealthcareSWFL.org, or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-658-3000.