Integrated Treatment at Premier HealthCare

Wed, August 05, 2009

Oral health is a fundamental component of total wellness, but it’s also the facet many of us avoid due to anxiety about visiting the dentist. At Premier HealthCare (Premier), sensitivity, consideration and an integrated approach to medicine provide a positive experience for patients with developmental disabilities – even in the dentist’s chair.

A Comprehensive Approach to Health Care

Founded in 1997 to address the comprehensive health care needs of people with developmental disabilities, Premier HealthCare operates on a group-practice model that emphasizes a collaborative approach to patients’ overall well being.

Premier locations throughout four New York City boroughs operate on a group-practice model, in which primary care physicians collaborate with specialists, including dentists, to offer the most thorough treatment.

“With a collaborative approach, patients are treated holistically,” said Dr. Crystalla Orthodoxou, Chief of Dentistry, Premier HealthCare. “We look at their entire medical history in order to provide the best care.”

“The mouth isn’t a separate entity from the body,” said Dr. Wanda Ortiz, a senior dentist at Premier's Brooklyn Heights practice. “It is affected by what the rest of the body does, by psychology and medications prescribed by other doctors.”

Treating Patients with Disabilities with Sensitivity, Creativity & Respect

In addition to an integrated approach to health care, dentists at Premier understand the importance of a gentle touch, and are specially trained to sensitively and respectfully treat and communicate with patients with developmental disabilities.

Premier dentists use a variety of creative techniques to ensure patients’ comfort and safety. Some use positive reinforcement – rewarding, praising and asking questions – to ease patients’ trepidation. Many use the “tell-show-do” technique on both children and adults to quell the fear of the unknown. Dr. Ortiz uses role reversal by sitting in the exam chair while the patient peeks into her mouth, or encourages younger patients to examine their parents or a puppet that is kept in the office. Dr. Orthodoxou uses music, breathing and relaxation techniques to calm and soothe her patients.

Improving Health, Changing Lives

A powerful measure of the effectiveness of the innovative approaches of Premier dentists is the response of their patients. “Premier doctors and dentists are passionate, caring people,” said Michelle, a patient at Premier’s Bayside practice. “I look forward to seeing my favorite people each time.”

Our practitioners are equally enthusiastic about their patients.

“We’re not just treating the individual, we’re being integrated into the patient’s family and inner circle,” said Dr. Frederic Lee, a senior dentist at Premier’s Manhattan practice who began treating patients with developmental disabilities 13 years ago. Today, he relishes the “camaraderie and humor” he shares with his patients and the “sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”

This caring attitude and focus on enabling patients and families to achieve long-term health objectives are part of what makes Premier Health Care so effective in helping them live healthier, happier lives.

November 2005