News Article

The Reporter: London Sharing Smiles Day

Original Posted: London OHTH & Sharing Smiles Day

Monique Johnson from the Reporter spends time with various dentists, dental students and persons with special needs participating in the First Annual Sharing Smiles Day in London.

Excerpt from the Article:

Janet is passed out and doesn’t know what’s about to happen.

Her dentist, Dr. Raymond Lee, bends down and gently rests her head on the headrest of her wheelchair. Janet (whose name was changed to protect her privacy), has cerebral palsy and can’t speak.

She’s on Valium to help relax. And Lee hopes Janet won’t wake up and be startled by his presence. Just in case she does, his dental assistant and Janet’s support worker stand by.

Lee opens her mouth and begins the examination.

“This is not good. This is gingivitis,” Lee says as he points to her inflamed gum line. “This disease is very uncomfortable.”

Janet moans. Her eyes slowly open and widen in panic. She suddenly jerks her head away from Lee’s grip. Janet’s moan now sounds like a cry.

“It’s okay sweetheart, you’ll be okay,” says Janet’s support worker (who also can’t be named).

Janet’s aggressive behaviour forces Lee to stop the examination; the Valium didn’t work well enough. But Lee says because of the severity of her gingivitis, she’ll have to return and be given general anesthesia to get her teeth cleaned. There’s no other way to do it because of her anxiety and behaviour, he says.

But Janet’s lucky she got an immediate appointment.

The waiting list is so long at London Health Sciences Centre’s dentistry deparment, that special-needs patients wait 12 to 14 months to see Lee – sometimes for a routine check-up. Dentists recommend a check-up every three to four months for such patients.

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