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.