Gotta keep on smiling and go M.A.D.
We are now into our fourth week of the New Year. This is a great opportunity to get updates from our M.A.D. friends to see what resolutions they’ve made, as well as their progress. Here is an update on “M.A.D. for Healthy Smiles” being lead by Susan Cotten.
Want to find our more about the Make A Difference Program? Click here for details. Several things are taking place and in the works!
The week before the Donny Get Together in August, a special patient of mine came in for her cleaning. She has a myriad of health issues, some being diabetes, periodontal disease, and cancer. Her oral health has been compromised due to systemic health issues. She does not have insurance but she still comes in every 3 months for her cleanings, and does everything I have talked to her about to help with her oral condition.
At this cleaning appointment we were talking as usual, about what was happening in our lives and our plans for the weekend. She told me she was going to a friends wedding… then she said something to me that broke my heart. She said she only wished she could go to the wedding and smile. She said “I can’t smile, you know what my teeth look like.”
I could have lost it right there. Well…I went to the Donny Get Together that weekend and was chosen to be a part of the M.A.D. program, on the way home I knew I wanted to see what we could do for her.
In conjunction with Dr. Becky, one of the wonderful dentists I work for, we are working on a plan for her. Testing has been done to identify the type and concentration of specific perio-pathogenic bacteria that are known to cause periodontal disease. At her next cleaning appointment, right after Christmas, another test will be done to determine if her cancer has spread to her mouth. After the results are in on this last test, we will know more about how we can proceed with further treatment. So at this time I am seeing her even more frequently for cleanings, it is our hope that her oral condition will respond favorably to receiving cleanings every 1.5 -2 months instead of every 3 months. Due to the multiple health factors coming into play, it is not certain what the out come will be. But it is our hope that things will work out favorably, and she will be able to smile.
Secondly, I saw a new patient a few months ago and upon doing the oral cancer screening, I found some alarming changes is his oral tissues… as a result of chewing tobacco. In my 16 years as a Dental Hygienist, I have never seen lesions like this. It was imperative that he see an Oral Surgeon, ASAP. I put the fear of the worst that could happen in him that day. While I cleaned his teeth, I had our front office staff see which Oral Surgeons were in his insurance network, and got him an appointment with the O.S. immediately after his cleaning appointment. The O.S. determined that the changes were precancerous changes at this point in time. My hope is he will quit chewing, and be an inspiration to others to quit. I will be following is progress and helping him in any way I can, until he achieves this goal. I see him again this coming Friday for a cleaning, I am anxious to see where he is in his journey, and to see if there are any positive changes in his oral tissues. I will have a blog started after the first of the year and will document his progress.
Thirdly, I have become associated with a pregnancy care center. They help women who are single and facing an unexpected pregnancy, single women who are new moms, or women in need of post-abortion support. They encourage the pregnant women to choose life, whether it be adoption or keeping their baby.
I will be providing oral health education to the women. The health of the mouth is crucial when a woman is pregnant. Periodontal disease can lead to premature labor, hence premature birth, which can then lead to a myriad of health issues for the baby. For the women who choose to keep their baby, I will be providing education on how to take care of their babies teeth. I am offering my services as a Dental Hygienist for cleanings, to any of the women who do not have dental insurance.
Additionally, I have applied to volunteer as a Dental Hygienist at a clinic for the homeless.
In Colorado we have a state wide health fair that takes place once a year. It is run by one of the major TV networks here. It is a great service and provides a multitude of health screenings. They offer Oral Cancer Screenings, but do not offer screenings for Periodontal disease. I am working on a proposal to take to them on why this screening should be provided and how it can be implemented.
Along with these things, I will continue to try and make a difference in the life of every patient I see, each day at work. Through education, screenings, treatment, and encouragement!
To every one on Donny.com
Keep flossing, and see your dentist and hygienist regularly!