Matt, age 40, has lost two hundred and twenty-three pounds in the last 10 months. These days, he’s all about positivity and making good things happen. Recently, Matt was excited to see his daughter graduate and become a nurse. He also credits his health improvements with making it easier to feel comfortable forming interpersonal relationships.
Matt was first seen by an Exceptional Needs Dentist (ENDS), Dr. James P. Hayden, Jr., shortly after the pandemic began. At the time, he was bed bound and struggling with acute dental pain. “Dr. Hayden saved my mouth from major infection. He and his assistant, Heather, have done an absolutely fantastic job for me.”
The ENDS program is a partnership established by four Oregon Dental Care Organizations:
-Capitol Dental Care
-Managed Dental Care of Oregon
Another ENDS provider, Lori Killen Aus, Expanded Practice Dental Hygienist (EPDH), has also been out to see Matt . “Lori, who does the cleaning, is fantastic too! And really good company,” he recalls of her visits. Lori, who has been practicing hygiene since 1980, has mastered the art of communicating just how vital a role oral health has in our overall health.
In recent months, Matt has been learning to walk again and reclaim his mobility. He describes his diet as “ninety-percent vegetables, ten-percent meat,” embracing the relationship between his oral health and nutrition. “When I first met Dr. Hayden, I couldn’t even sit up and the providers with ENDS have done an incredible job. “
Matt and I spoke about the bittersweet possibility of no longer needing mobile dentist services in the future, “Dr. Hayden is professional and so personable; I love talking to him. I wouldn’t switch dentists for anything!”. The ENDS Program connects patients with providers like Dr. Hayden and Lori, thanks to the dental care benefits made possible by Oregon Health Plan (OHP).
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:
- Capitol Dental Care
- CareOregon Dental
- Managed Dental Care of Oregon
- Willamette Dental
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.