DPH Dental Team Delivers Life-Saving Care to a Citizen in Need

October 20, 2014

It’s a staple of television medical dramas – health care professionals stepping in to provide potentially life-saving treatment to a person in need, a person with no other hope. For a Department of Public Health (DPH) dental team that story line became reality.  

Adam Doss, D.M.D., dental director for the Northwest Health District, was presented with an extremely complex dental case – one that would prove to be a unique learning experience. The patient was in the midst of a difficult battle against throat cancer and cardiovascular disease and was unable to begin radiation therapy due to extensive oral infections. Facing limited financial resources and a complex medical history, the patient attempted to secure dental services from multiple practices but with no success.

Just as he was thinking he had exhausted all resources, the patient’s luck suddenly changed when a radiation oncologist recommended the services of Dr. Doss in Rome, Georgia.

Never one to back down from a challenge, Dr. Doss quickly assembled a team of dental health practitioners including a dental assistant, dental hygienist and four students from Georgia Regents University (GRU). When he’s not spearheading Rome’s DPH dental practice, Dr. Doss performs duties as adjunct dental faculty for students participating in externships at the local DPH dental office.

He viewed this case as an ideal opportunity to provide a real world example of complex surgical dental treatments, and more importantly, exemplify the value of affording greater access to public health services to Georgia citizens.

“We received the honor and privilege of taking care of a very needy human being, as well as a great teaching opportunity for our Georgia Regents University dental students who happened to be here on externship,” Dr. Doss said. “Cases like these do not come around every day, but we do see patients like this who would otherwise lack access to any care, and most certainly, care at the level we were able to provide.”

The initial phase of the patient’s treatment included an extraction of his remaining teeth, which served as a vital step to Dr. Doss clearing him to begin radiation therapy.

“Understanding the complexity of our patient’s circumstance, we created a treatment plan that allowed us to accommodate his extensive health care needs,” Dr. Doss said. “Time was of the essence in this case, and getting the patient through our dental procedures quickly was a top priority to ensure a successful health care outcome.”          

Since working with Dr. Doss’ team, the patient has recovered from his dental work and will begin radiation therapy soon. Upon completing his therapy, he will soon return to Dr. Doss’ team to complete the final step in securing a healthy, bright smile.

“Considering the patient’s future dental needs, we went the extra step of preparing him for an adequate denture fit,” Dr. Doss said. “Seeing him happy, smiling and in stable condition will be perfect ending to one of the most inspiring dental case my team has ever experienced.”

Visit http://www.nwgapublichealth.org/ to learn more about the dental, health care and social services available to citizens in DPH’s northwest health district. 

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