Tyler Junior College and the University of Texas Health Center identify a critical need for easily accessible, ER-based dental care.
Health officials from both the University of Texas Health Center and Tyler Junior college are contemplating a new health partnership that would integrate on-site dental services into area ER centers in an effort to give disadvantaged and low-income patients with serious dental issues the critical care that they need. Poor dental health can give rise to overall heath issues aside from the obvious, including malnutrition and, in extreme cases, heart problems caused by infections in the blood stream. Unfortunately, it is also a reality that many who have cavities, gum disease, and bad and or missing teeth just can’t afford to have their issues fixed, which in turn leads to the more serious health problems.
“(A) very common complaint in the emergency room is dental pain,” Dr. Ryan Menard, a family medicine physician at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler tells TylerPaper. “They just can’t afford to go see a doctor in the office or a dentist.” Another problem encountered by many are that most emergency rooms just aren’t equipped to deal with such dental issues. Really, what most people receive in the ER will be pain medication, which is only a temporary relief for discomfort, and antibiotics to try to combat infection. Neither of these actually attacks the root of the problem.
Now the University of Texas Health Centre, in conjunction with Tyler Junior College are seeking to change that and to make dental care more readily available to all with a potential partnership. According to the article written by Emily Guevara:
The partnership would allow the college through its dental clinic to treat as many as 1,100 patients a year who are referred by the health science center.
“It would help us tremendously especially among lower income individuals just to at least go and have your teeth cleaned or go and have teeth pulled,” Menard said of the potential collaboration. “That would be a huge benefit. It would probably save costs in the long-run by preventing recurrent ER visits. I think their overall health would improve, too.”
The possibility of TJC and UT combining forces to help those in a lower income bracket receive proper dental care is one that would not only aid those already suffering from the effects of bad teeth, but through cleaning and routine maintenance, would help to avoid others from developing similar serious issues.