Bulletin of Dental Education

Meridian Dentistry for Children Provides Accessible and Specialized Care for Children

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KHOVWhile access to dental care for all ages remains a public health challenge, the importance of good oral health from a young age cannot be overstated. Recent studies confirm the particular difficulties facing low-income children. A lack of insurance and access to care are two of the many barriers that prevent children from seeing a dentist. In addition, children with special health care needs often don’t receive proper care.

In an effort to break down these barriers, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center has opened Meridian Dentistry for Children, a specialized, full-service dental practice for infants, children and adolescents in a child-friendly, caring environment. Meridian Dentistry for Children focuses on care for underserved populations, including children with special needs such as autism, developmental delay and other chronic conditions, as well as those without insurance.

“K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital is proud to welcome Meridian Dentistry for Children, a pediatric dental practice that provides a critical service to underserved children in our community. Oral health is an important part of every child’s development, and every child deserves access to regular checkups and specialized dental care,” says Kenneth N. Sable, M.D., M.B.A., FACEP, President of K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. 

As the Director of Meridian Dentistry for Children, Donn Winokur, D.D.S., brings over 40 years’ experience to this practice. Dr. Winokur is a recognized expert in providing dental care for children with medical challenges, including developmental delay, cerebral palsy, cleft palate and other complex conditions. He approaches dental care as an important part of total wellness and recognizes the stress that many children feel at the dentist’s office. He infuses precise care with lighthearted touches that put kids at ease, particularly those with special health care needs. 

KHOV_2Dr. Winokur is joined by Jenna Winokur, D.M.D., and Young Yi, D.M.D., both of whom completed their pediatric dental residencies at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Eileen O’Donnell, D.M.D., and Virginia Walsh, D.M.D., who each have more than 30 years of experience as childhood/adolescent dentists, are also part of the team. The dental team coordinates with pediatricians and specialists to ensure special needs are addressed. 

According to Bonnie Stanley, D.D.S., Chief, Bureau of Dental Services, New Jersey Family Care, New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, “Tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood illness, and less than 20% of New Jersey Family Care children under the age of 3 are receiving preventive dental services. Left untreated, pediatric dental disease and its resulting pain and infection can lead to problems in eating, speaking and learning. We’re proud to partner with practices like Meridian Dentistry for Children to advocate the importance of early-age preventive dental care, at-home dental hygiene and education for children and families.”  

Located next to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital, the practice is part of the Children’s Hospital’s Specialty Care Center, providing the most comprehensive medical and dental services for children in Monmouth and Ocean Counties in one location. At the heart of Meridian Pediatric Network, the hospital includes a pediatric emergency department and acute care units supported by over 100 pediatric sub-specialists working together with community pediatricians to deliver the most complete, most coordinated care for children in the surrounding communities.

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