Danny, age 24, has severe autism and is happily living a quiet life in southern Oregon. On days when the weather is nice, Danny enjoys going for car rides with his Mom, taking walks, and swimming. He also enjoys listening to jazz and watching Baby Einstein videos. Danny is typically a relaxed person, although he has never been able to tolerate treatment in a dentist’s office.
Before Danny’s family moved from California to Oregon three years ago, Danny had always needed to be sent to the hospital for dental treatment under general anesthesia. That all changed when he was referred from Capitol Dental Care to Dr. Jim Hales, an Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) provider. Dr. Hales has been working with the special needs population through the ENDS program since 1995, and he has been working as a dentist for over 50 years. After being assigned to Dr. Hales, Danny allowed a dentist to look at his teeth without the need of sedation for the first time.
Dr. Hales believed that he could treat Danny even further, and decided that he could achieve this by having Danny come to the office frequently. He invited Danny back to the office often, even if it was just to sit and get comfortable with being in the dentist’s office. With every visit, Danny was smiling more and more and, as time went on, he allowed the doctor to perform more intensive treatment. Over a few appointments, Dr. Hales was able to completely clean all of Danny’s teeth and even got a full set of x-rays! Danny’s mom says that having Dr. Hales as her son’s dentist is a relief to her, and she is so happy that the doctor was able to create an environment that helped Danny to receive much-needed treatment without being sedated. Danny’s mother has continued to be “astounded” by Dr. Hales’ ability to treat her son.
Danny’s mother says that Dr. Hales is a dentist with a special touch, and she is so thankful that Danny is able to receive treatment through the ENDS program. All of this is a result of the continued support for the dental benefits provided to members of the Oregon Health Plan. Because of that ongoing support, our special needs communities can continue to grow and improve from the unique talents and expertise of providers like Dr. Hales.