Charlie, age 70, lives happily in Oregon near his children. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over 10 years ago. Growing up, Charlie was an athlete and that competitive drive has helped him push forward and keep a positive outlook in life. Charlie played High School and College Football. He also received an internship at university for an Engineering degree. He later became a marathon runner and even completed a 74-floor stair climb!
Charlie’s favorite things to do are hanging out with his family and dogs, and barbequing in the backyard. He tries to go for a stroll once or twice a day, with the aid of his walker. Parkinson’s Disease has affected almost every aspect of Charlie’s life, but he says he has a great support system. Walking and talking has become hard for him. He has to think about each step he takes and has to focus on how to vocalize his words when he speaks.
When Charlie met with Dr. John Aspros, an Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) mobile dentist, he discovered that his teeth were not in good condition and that he would need immediate oral care. Parkinson’s Disease had made it difficult for him to understand the severity of his oral health condition. Dr. Aspros realized this and had extensive calls with Charlie’s family to make sure they understood the work that needed to be done. His family says that Dr. Aspros did an excellent job of keeping Charlie apprised of his treatment plan.
Although Charlie was very apprehensive of the dental procedures, his family reported that the care Charlie received was incredible! The family said, “Charlie’s recovery was great! He has a huge appetite and has had a much easier time eating. The ENDS program has helped Charlie and the family get control of his dental health and set him up for future success.” Because of the dental care benefits made possible by ENDS through the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) and providers like Dr. Aspros, Charlie is having all of his dental needs and concerns met. Charlie and his family have said that they are so thankful for this program. “We are so glad Oregon has amazing programs like this set-in place for our aging seniors and people with disabilities. THANK YOU!”
Shane, age 31, resides in a group home due to Autism, language impairment, and intellectual developmental disorder. Shane enjoys expressing himself through many art forms, including drawing, sculpting, and making figurines out of whatever materials are available to him. He also finds happiness in watching YouTube videos, playing games on his tablet, and collecting Furbies.
All of these activities help Shane to relax but at the end of March he was struggling to enjoy his usual hobbies. Shane had begun to wince in pain whenever he ate. He was so distressed by the aching in his mouth that he would aggressively act out towards his caregivers whenever he felt this pain. Shane’s caregivers contacted ENDS, who scheduled an emergency dental exam with a mobile dentist, Dr. James Hayden, and his assistant, Candice.
The caregivers reached out to ENDS and reported that Shane’s behaviors improved immediately after Dr. Hayden completed his treatment with Shane. During these trying times it is vital to maintain the ability to care for our fellow Oregonians, especially the vulnerable population.
ENDS providers have strived to keep emergency care available the COVID-19 global pandemic. These crucial services are available thanks to benefits provided through the Oregon Health Plan and ENDS’ four partnering dental care organizations:
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.
Judi, age 79, was referred to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) in 2015. She suffers from Alzheimer’s dementia and depression. She is also bedbound and unable to leave her facility for dental or medical treatment.
Judi is extremely passionate about home-style cooking. She has always enjoyed preparing meals for her children. Their usual requests were meatloaf, potato salad, as well as chicken and dumplings. Judi learned how to cook from her family and was never one to follow a recipe, but preferred “cooking to taste.”
As time has gone on, Judi has developed extremely limited physical coordination and has become unable to care for her teeth on her own. The nursing staff would help her by providing assistance with brushing her teeth regularly. When Dr. James Hayden, an ENDS mobile dentist, visited Judi at her facility it, was apparent that she had periodontal disease in her remaining teeth. Dr. Hayden took x-rays that confirmed this and set up a treatment plan for Judi to have several extractions.
Prior to being seen by Dr. Hayden, Judi was experiencing a loss of appetite and she would rarely smile. She was so relieved that Dr. Hayden and his assistant were able to see her at the nursing home. She said they were wonderfully knowledgeable and very kind.
After receiving her new dentures, Judi’s care provider went to ask how she was doing and found that Judi was so excited and happy that her smile filled the room. Judi was thrilled with how comfortable and pretty her new teeth were. She said that it was a “dream come true.”
Because of the dental care benefits made possible by Oregon Health Plan (OHP), and providers like Dr. Hayden, Judi has had all her dental needs met and she couldn’t be happier.