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April 14, 2014

Community corner: Dental care for people with SCI and/or TBI

In January 2013, Craig Hospital conducted a Community Needs Assessment to evaluate the health of people in our community with spinal cord injury (SCI) and/or brain injury (BI). The assessment was conducted to identify high priority health needs and develop strategies to address those needs.

One of the community needs identified was the dental health of people with spinal cord injuries and brain injuries. Finding a dentist after a traumatic injury can be a difficult task, but good dental care is very important for overall health. Some difficulties people face in finding a dentist and maintaining good oral hygiene include:

  • Finding a dentist experienced in treating patients with SCI and/or BI.
  • Dental offices may be inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.
  • Finding a dentist who accepts Medicaid or has a sliding fee scale for patients without insurance.
  • Being able to brush or floss their teeth effectively.
  • Having caregivers trained in how to properly care for another person’s teeth.

Another reason for regular dental cleanings is to address the side effects of medications such as chronic dry mouth and tooth decay. Dentists may help design solutions when brushing or flossing is difficult for the patient. Finding a dentist can be one of the most difficult health care services for patients to find post injury. In an effort to assist patients identify dentists in their community, Craig Hospital has compiled a list of dentists in Colorado and Wyoming who are better equipped for patients with SCI and BI.

Visit Craig Hospital’s Community Corner to learn more about our Community Needs Assessment and to find some of the clinics that accept Medicaid and/or have a sliding fee scale for patients without dental insurance.

References:
University of Washington School of Medicine. “Maintaining Oral Health after SCI.” Spinal Cord Injury Update, Spring 2010.