“Developmental disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other cognitive disabilities create challenges in accomplishing daily activities, especially self-care activities. People with these disabilities may need extra help to achieve and maintain good health, which includes oral health. To achieve and maintain good oral health, people with mild or moderate developmental disabilities often require a special approach to dental care.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
It is not uncommon to find individuals with extensive dental care needs who may not have received consistent care over time. In order to provide this care, many dentists will insist on sedation, and others have insisted on IV anesthesia in a hospital based setting.
Most dental plans only pay for routine cleanings and care. None pay for sedation or anesthesia. Crowns, replacement, extractions, fillings, and other care are only partially covered by the best plans. Lack of routine care and appropriate dental hygiene can lead to a lifetime of periodontal disease and tooth decay. In extreme cases, the decay can cause serious infection.
At The Arc Prince George’s County, we strive to assist the individuals in obtaining quality medical care. When the cost of care extends beyond our, or the individual’s means, we try to seek alternative funding opportunities through partnerships in our community.
A recent grant for dental care through a CareFirst partnership allowed 14 individuals to receive long awaited dental treatment and restoration. Chris and Amy Thompson were among those who received funds.
Chris and Amy had been part of The Arc’s Personal Supports program for a number of years. Their funding was for staffing to assist them in their apartment with activities of daily living, doctor’s appointments, cooking, and paying bills. Over time, their needs became such that they petitioned for and became part of our Residential program. Prior to residential, neither Chris nor Amy received dental care on a consistent basis.
They both had a number of challenges including periodontal disease. With the help of The CareFirst grant, Chris and Amy were able to have their teeth properly deep cleaned, and his gums treated for periodontal disease. Chris received several fillings, and a crown to replace his missing front tooth.
He is very excited about his new smile, and loves showing off to everyone. His dental coverage through The Arc will take care of future cleanings, and routine checkup.
Amy’s care is still on-going. Her dentist prefers to see her in stages so as not to overwhelm her. So far, with only mild pre-work sedation, her team has been successful in making advances on improving Amy’s smile as well.
We are truly thankful for the partnership and continued support of CareFirst!