OHP Success Story – Spring 2020

Harry, age 38, lives with Down syndrome and type two diabetes. His mother says that Harry does not let his syndromes get him down. He enjoys spending time watching movies and caring for the family pug, Penny. Although Harry is generally a happy person, sometimes dental pain and infection can get in the way of that.

An Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) dentist, Dr. James P. Hayden Jr., saw Harry for an emergency exam. Harry could not verbalize what was wrong when he began refusing food, but he held the left side of his face to show that he was in pain. Because Harry had difficulty making sense of why someone would try to put their hands on in his mouth, he initially would not allow Dr. Hayden to touch him. Through encouragement from his parents though, Harry eventually approved of the doctor to look at his teeth and take some diagnostic pictures. Dr. Hayden determined Harry had an abscess and referred him for treatment at the hospital under general anesthesia.

The ENDS office coordinated hospital dentistry under general anesthesia with Dr. Brian Summers. Dr. Summers was able to add Harry as an urgent case to the hospital schedule for the following Friday. To make the most of the opportunity, Harry’s parents asked that he have his fingernails and toenails clipped while he was undergoing surgery, as it was quite a struggle to trim them due to his behaviors. Due to Harry’s diabetes, the ENDS surgery scheduler coordinated a special diabetic clinic provider to come and clip his nails.

Thanks to the benefits provided through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), Dr. Summers treated Harry in the hospital just four days after he was referred for treatment. The appointment prevented the spread of the infection and significantly eased Harry’s pain. The ENDS program helps to ensure that Oregonians’ have access to the oral health care they need.