OHP Success Story – Winter 2019

Brandon, age 26, was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two. He lives with his family and does not communicate verbally. Brandon enjoys watching Disney musicals and has always been fascinated by different modes of transportation – boats, planes, and cars.

Brandon’s family spent much of past year looking into what medical and dental resources were available to him. Through Oregon Health Plan Medicaid, his dental insurance referred him to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS). 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

The ENDS program 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.

Before treatment through ENDS, it had been over five years since Brandon had had a full dental exam performed. His Acute Situational Anxiety and Autism meant that he could not be successfully treated in a traditional dental office. However, his new ENDS provider was able to treat him at the hospital under general anesthesia. Brandon’s father Joe said of the experience, “From the time we got to the Hospital – to sign in our son in, to all the nurses, to the anesthesiologist, to the Dentist, and to check out – everything went well.”  Thanks to Brandon’s family’s diligence in brushing his teeth and maintaining his oral health, the treating provider reported that Brandon’s teeth were actually in pretty good shape.

Joe says that they feel lucky to have access to the dental resources that ENDS provides. Brandon’s father says he had contacted every dentist in his area from the Autistic Society website and none of them were able to meet Brandon’s needs. The ENDS Program connects providers throughout Oregon to those that need it most through the dental care benefits made possible through Oregon Health Plan.

OHP Success Story – Autumn 2018

Emily, age 30, suffered from a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to speak or care for herself. In 2017, her life was dramatically altered when she was involved in a head-on collision with a bus. It was originally thought that Emily was going to remain in a coma forever. Her mother, Brenda, was always confident that Emily would recover. While Emily did awake from the coma, the accident has resulted in a life time of challenges for her.

When Emily regained consciousness it quickly became apparent that she was in a great deal of oral pain. She was refusing to eat and she would not let anyone near her mouth. Emily was referred to Exceptional Needs Dental Services (ENDS) for mobile dentistry after a traditional dental clinic was unable to accommodate her treatment needs. An ENDS provider, Dr. John Aspros, visited Emily at her care facility where he determined that he would need to treat her further at a hospital to help alleviate her pain.

Brenda says that since undergoing hospital dentistry Emily’s teeth look beautiful and that Emily has begun to allow care givers to brush her teeth, and she continues to regain the ability to eat. Now that Emily’s pain has diminished and her voice has returned she enjoys singing along to her favorite funk-rock tunes. Her smile remains visible as she proceeds through her recovery, which her mother believes will come full circle.

Brenda admits, “As a frantic Mom, I wouldn’t have known what to do about getting Emily’s teeth taken care of. I can’t imagine how I would feel if, when Emily’s voice returned, she asked me why I let her teeth rot. I don’t know what I would have done without your program.” Behind every patient is an incredibly thankful family. The care that ENDS and providers like Dr. Aspros give to patients across Oregon is vital to maintaining a positive quality of life. Thanks to the Medicaid dental benefits provided by Oregon Health Plan, ENDS is able to make a difference that radiates through our patients’ smiles and into the lives of the people that love them.