Kris is an active 18-year-old with CHARGE syndrome that causes him to have multiple health problems. Additionally, Kris has very unique dental care needs. Many children with developmental disabilities have difficulty tolerating even brushing or flossing their teeth. Due to sensitivity issues and problems with challenging behaviors, most of them are unable to have a simple cleaning by a dental hygienist. “They are unable to sit still for an x-ray of their teeth, much less tolerate dental procedures that may cause even minor pain. As a result, anesthesia is required for dental work,” said Jennifer Thornberry, Heartspring ARNP.
Kris came to Heartspring in 2004 and his only dental insurance coverage came from an out-of-state Medicaid provider. “Kris had significant tooth decay that we felt was causing pain. While pursuing options for Kris, one of his molars was broken while chewing. He needed dental work as soon as possible,” said Thornberry.
Kris also needed to have this dental work completed in a hospital, due to the potential for complications related to his other medical conditions. After explaining Kris’ situation, local oral surgeon Dr. Remy Blanchaert agreed to donate his time for the surgery. In addition, Dr. Dick Morgan, anesthesiologist, offered his help and Wesley Medical Center agreed to become the state medical provider to cover his medical costs. “We were very thankful that many opportunities presented themselves, including a local oral surgeon who volunteered his time, and a hospital that volunteered to write off the costs not covered by the out-of-state Medicaid,” Thornberry commented. Today Kris’ smile is brightens the room.