Jen, age 32, has struggled with disabilities since an early age. As she got older, her schizophrenia became more apparent, as did its impact on her overall health. Jen has lived on the coast for most of her life and, when she’s able to, enjoys going for walks by the beach. Jen has had serious fears stemmed from adverse dental experiences in the past. Jen’s life-long caregiver, Pearl, has always been concerned about maintaining Jen’s oral health. “If you can’t eat and you can’t see, it’s your main crest of living. It really is a big barrier. It affects your total health.”
After unsuccessful attempts in a traditional dental office, Jen was referred to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) for dental treatment. ENDS provides dental care access to individuals with exceptional needs, serving those who are functionally impaired, requiring assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and are unable to obtain treatment in a traditional office setting.
The ENDS program is a partnership established by four Oregon Dental Care Organizations: – Capitol Dental Care – CareOregon Dental – Managed Dental Care of Oregon – Willamette Dental
One of ENDS’ providers, Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, worked very slowly to gain Jen’s trust. On their first visit, Lori was able to get Jen to talk about those bad experiences and assured her that such ordeals would not happen with her. Jen responded to Lori’s calming expertise by opening her mouth enough for Lori to brush her teeth. Six months later, Jen was still very hesitant, but Lori was able to calm her down by reminding her that she was not there to create a dreadful visit. The next time Lori visited, Jen was practically jumping up and down with her arms open for a hug.
As time has gone on, Jen has grown to trust Lori so much with her dental care that she recently asked Lori if she could take a photo of the two of them for her to cherish. The ENDS program is fortunate to work with providers like Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, who has been practicing dental hygiene for over 40 years. Because of the dental care benefits made possible by Oregon Health Plan (OHP), and providers like Lori, Jen is having her dental needs met and couldn’t be happier.
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.
Diana, age 27, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. She has lived with her grandmother nearly her whole life. Growing up, Diana attended a Portland public school as a student in the special education program. After she completed her education she was connected to Trellis (trellis-or.com), a special education program that uses a team model in which families and professionals work together to develop social and independent life skills.
The Trellis program pairs Diana with a direct support provider for therapeutic integration into the community twice a week. They accompany her on numerous outings which include shopping malls, art classes, dance lessons, volunteer opportunities, and other group activities. Diana spends much of her free time on the computer, engaged with YouTube or watching her favorite cartoon characters. She loves to breathe new life into her cartoons by writing short stories about the characters.
Diana is able to visit a traditional dental office for exams and cleanings, but she is unable to tolerate more extensive dental treatments. It was for that reason that she was referred to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) for hospital dentistry before being referred back to her primary care dentist.
Diana’s grandmother said the ENDS staff were extremely caring and supportive towards Diana and she is grateful that ENDS was able to coordinate the necessary oral procedure for Diana. “The treatment was not as traumatic as she had feared and now Diana has taken a special interest in her dental hygiene.” The care and compassion delivered by ENDS’ providers, along with the dental benefits provided by the Oregon Health Plan, ensure patients receive the treatment they need to continue living a happy and healthy life.