The initial visit to the ER doesn’t always mean the dental patient will accept the resources offered the first time. In the case of a 31-year-old woman with right and left lower teeth pain who was referred from the ER to the DENT Program, she received antibiotics and her abscess appeared to have cleared. However, pain and abscesses almost always return with a vengeance.
Unfortunately, the woman did not return DENT calls with offers of dental appointments the next day. DENT staff continued to call and text and even mailed a letter, reminding her that she was Apple Health eligible and that the insurance would pay for her dental care. Still no response.
A little over a month later, she called in pain with a very swollen face. She was newly pregnant and very ill and needed emergency dental care. She was very concerned about the pain and swelling but even more worried about the possible effect on her unborn child. In crisis, she became motivated to call. Luckily, she kept the DENT phone number.
Both the Unify and CHAS Clinics (FQHCs) offer immediate dental appointments to pregnant women because they are committed to assisting in any way to ensure healthy births. DENT staff was able to schedule the woman the following day with the Unify Clinic for emergency dental care.
The woman stated, “I am so thankful you did not give up on me after not calling back last month. I was in a bad situation and just couldn’t think about my teeth. I started to feel better and I thought the tooth problem was over. I was so wrong.”