No one particularly looks forward to visiting his dentist. Some don't really find it to be a good experience. Treating the handicapped is a difficult feat since they are afraid of dental treatment.

How do you let a mentally retarded person know that the dentist and his instruments are there to relieve him of his toothache?

How can a dentist deal with a palsied or spastic person who can't hold his head still long enough to be treated? How does a person confined to a wheel chair get to a dentist located in a clinic or building not equipped to handle wheel chairs? How can a dentist spend twice as much time on a handicapped patient when his waiting room is crowded with other patients and his appointment book is filled months in advance?

These considerations gave a masonic organization enough reason to begin funding a program that would provide dental care for handicaps. The dental facility allows entrance for all people with different kinds of handicaps. The handicapped person will not have to shell out any money. A patient may be aided by public assistance or insurance coverage to cover the payment for treatment.

The organization's foundation pays if funds are not available. Expenses such as hospitalization, fare, lodging, and dental treatment would be covered by them. Not including air travel fare, the cost can be as much as $350 to $550 per patient.

The dental work is done on the patient while he is under the effects of general anesthesia. The patient goes to the hospital in advance to give time for complete evaluations. The center already receives background information of the patient, including his or her medical and dental records.

A family member stays at a room connected to the patient's in the hospital. The patients are usually in the hospital between three to four days on average. A provision for out patient care is given where it is necessary and feasible. If needed, follow up care is given.

Usually, those who have physical or mental handicaps are the ones who are treated while under general anesthesia. The latest equipment for dental treatment has been purchased to provide the most comfortable treatment possible. While seated in the new dental chairs, the patient can feel more secure.

Patience is the most important qualification for a dentist working with handicapped patients. It would be tough to reach them because they have a different way of thinking and communicating. Society and environment are important factors to consider also. The program is being used as an avenue for dental students to learn. This will help instruct future dentists on how to provide quality treatment for handicapped patients.

The organization will keep track of the dentists who get special training so that patients may go to them when necessary. Requests for dental care may entitle a patient to sponsorship. So far, we've had pleasant encounters with the patients' families. They're pleased to know that the care is now here.

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