Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is an autosomal dominant disorder of the teeth characterized clinically by translucent gray to yellow-brown teeth involving both primary and permanent dentition; the enamel fractures easily, leaving exposed dentin, which undergoes rapid attrition; radiographically, the pulp chambers and canal appear obliterated and the roots are short and blunted.
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is classified as a medical condition as there are chromosomal mutations, however, must be treated by dental professionals, not medical doctors. For this reason, medical insurance does not cover any treatment associated with this disease. Dental insurance covers only up to $1000 to $2000 maximum per year. This is a major problem as patients with Dentinogenesis Imperfecta fall between the cracks and without insurance of any kind to help in the treatment of this disease.
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta affects 1 in 8000 people and can be treated with typical dental procedures, some of which are covered by insurance. However, in rare cases, such as Carson’s case below, it requires multiple dental specialists, treatment planning, and surgeries that neither dental or medical insurance covers. This leaves the treatment almost impossible for patients, as the price to do so without insurance is astronomical. The goal is to get patients to regain a full functioning mouth.
Carson's current state
Before the first surgery
Carson has Dentinogenesis Imperfecta in its most severe form. Basically, the enamel on his teeth is weak and breaks off, exposing the dentin or living part of the tooth. As you can imagine this is extremely painful, and as the teeth wear down, the jawbone will eventually begin to deteriorate.
To ensure the bone density in Carson’s jaw, we could not take any permanent action until he turned 18. The process required will take approximately 8 months to complete, so this means we must start the first surgery within the next 2 months to allow him to start college on time.
Carson’s procedure will require the support of multiple dental specialists, and will take a cross-discipline team to complete. We received support from the Texas A&M Division Chair of General Dentistry to identify the most qualified prosthodontist in the DFW area to lead Carson’s restoration. Not only have we found the most capable leader for Carson’s treatment, but the doctor also reduced the cost significantly because he wants to be part of this amazing restoration.
So, here’s the mission, we have an 8-month procedure that needs to start by the end of October, so it can be completed in time for Carson to start college.
The required treatment plan includes the installation of 16 posts and 8 bridges that will be permanently installed. The total cost for restoration is $75,000, which must be paid up front so the implants can be manufactured. This is the challenge we need help with. Insurance will not cover the treatment because they determined that it’s cosmetic. In fact, there isn’t even a medical code to put it under. We’ve done extensive research with multiple insurance attorney’s and dentists, and there is not a path to challenge.
We have spent much time in prayer asking for a path, and we are confident in what’s to come. Carson, my wife Christy, and I feel a calling to start and manage a charity to help kids with the same challenge that Carson has experienced. We plan to raise money to offer support for families in our situation, and Carson can offer them leadership through the procedures. Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is hereditary, so there is a good chance Carson’s children or grandchildren will have it as well. Our struggle to find resources and support have put it in our hearts to create a vehicle to help people in the future.
We are asking you to pray about it, and if you can help Carson meet the $75,000 target, here’s how:
Thank you for taking time to consider how you or your network may be able to help.
Shawn, Christy, and Carson Hawks