Ever wonder why it is that you do what you do for a living? Or why you ever chose to go into the career of dental hygiene in the first place. We’ll I got my answer just the other day as I was practicing my clinical hygiene skills. When I heard that I was having a patient come in that was physically and mentally challenged, I had no idea what was going to be presented to me as a clinician. John Doe showed up and when I went out to get him he had a care taker with him. He had to be lead and helped to my chair for observation. Not knowing his medical history I really had no idea of what kind of special needs patient he was going to be.
At first when I asked him to take a seat at my chair he just stood there and did not even say a word. I was nervous not knowing if I was handling the situation well enough. His care taker finally said in a forceful voice, “John sit down!” I was trying to communicate with him in a friendly way, and I could tell that he was really nervous about the appointment. As I went through his medical history with his care giver, I found it very frustrating that she did not know why he was taking any of these medications. However, there was a list of his conditions, so I had to use my best judgment. Also the company had no information on his dental history. I personally don’t think he ever had a dental history, which really bothered me to know that he wasn’t getting his teeth taken care of. John has Down syndrome, with severe mental retardation, along with many other conditions, most of which I found to be linked to each other. As we started leaning him back in the chair I could tell that he was unsure if he liked what was going on. I found that I had to adjust my level to almost a kid style of learning, showing everything I did before I proceeded onto the next step. I continued talking to him about each step. When I asked him, “John do you brush your teeth?” He replied the only way he could, with a sign, his caregiver...
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