Eastman Dental a Dream Come True for this Mom
David Goodnough’s mom Pat cried the first time she came to Eastman Dental at the Complex Care Center.
“We walked in and the people at the desk were very nice,” she said, quite different from other dental offices she had taken her son. “The people at Eastman are so happy and warm.”
But despite the warm greeting, she assumed it would be yet another place where they will tell her son that he doesn’t brush his teeth, and extractions would be necessary.
“We sat down, and after an examining David’s teeth, Dr. Planerova said ‘I think I can save a couple of his teeth.’”
“The doctor went on to share her suggested plan, the whole time talking to David, and asking for his thoughts about the plan,” Pat recalled. That’s when she started crying—tears of joy.
David, 36, has developmental disabilities. His previous experiences at dental offices were anything but positive. Pat shared how one dentist said David had a gag reflux and couldn’t treat him. Another wouldn’t let Pat go in the treatment room with David. From the waiting room, Pat kept hearing, “Stop it David. Stop it David!” Others told him to sit still and yelled at him. Most of them said David wasn’t brushing at all, and Pat knew he was. One dentist said he would need to extract all his teeth. David turned to his mother and said, “You’re not going to let them do that, Mom, are you?”
No, she wasn’t. That’s when she learned about Eastman Dental.
“Our experience here was just overwhelming,” Pat describe. “It was so foreign to what we had experienced.”
David agrees. “I like her so much,” he said about Dr. Adela Planerova, director of Dental Services at UR Medicine’s Complex Care Center. “She didn’t force me. Tell me to count down, relax. That helps a lot. Really nice.”
And the dental assistants Maureen “Mo” Steinbacher and Tracy Poupore.
“They’re crazy!” he says with a huge smile. “They rub my arm. It feels good. It helps me relax, and calms me down.”
Sometimes David, who works at Unistel 5 hours a day, sings Elvis or the Backstreet Boys to get rid of the anxiety many people feel at a dental appointment.
The Complex Care Center is Rochester, NY’s first primary care practice-including dental services- dedicated to caring for patients with chronic childhood-onset conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, childhood cancers, autism, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Eastman Dental has three treatment rooms there, equipped with handicap-accessible dental chairs that can be easily moved, making space for patients with wheelchairs or to provide a different view for an anxious patient.
“David, like others, needs a gentle approach, and a little extra time to acclimate to the dental room,” explained Dr. Adela Planerova, title. “Some patients need time to develop a relationship with the providers which may take several visits; but with David it was fast and took only two visits.
“David is very verbal and is able to tell me things,” Pat said. “If there’s a problem, I can help work it out. But what about the ones who are unable to express themselves or who are non-verbal? Finding Eastman Dental was a dream come true.”
“David and his mother came to the Complex Care Center with very different feelings than they have now,” Dr. Planerova continued. “During the first two visits, we had to gain his trust back and manage his high level of anxiety due to his previous experiences. Now, every visit with David is very pleasant, full of happiness and joy.”
The main goal at Eastman Dental is to provide dental care while accommodating each patient’s unique needs. “Each member of our dental team is very important in this process,” Dr. Planerova said. “ We believe that each patient coming to CCC has his or her own interests, strengths and challenges which can be channeled and used during each dental visit.
“We take it one step at a time to achieve increasing and better cooperation,” Dr. Planerova explained. “A successful visit one week may mean taking x-rays, and work toward comfort during surgical procedures. David is an example of a patient who started out so afraid, but now can handle procedures and leave the clinic happy and satisfied.”
Karen Black |