By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
My sister, Abbie Gail Bembry, had been having problems with her teeth for almost her entire adult life. It seemed that there was nowhere that could get her the help that she needed.
Abbie is mentally challenged and local dentists were not able to help her because she is very defensive. She would put up a struggle when the dentist would try to look inside her mouth. She is very strong and has a very tight grip.
We had taken her to Shands in Gainesville to see about getting her bad teeth extracted. The dentist had recommended that she enter the hospital and be put under anesthesia so that the teeth could be extracted while she was asleep. Everything seemed ready to go until we tried to make the appointment. We were then told that Abbie’s Medicaid would not pay for the anesthesiologist.
A few months ago, Abbie’s tooth became abscessed. During a visit to the dentist at the health department, Zane Gaston, his assistant, gave me a phone number and address for Tachachale Dental Clinic in Gainesville.
Tachachale is a residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities, but the dental clinic does outpatient work in the evening.
I called and Tachachale sent paper work for Abbie’s primary care physician, Adolfo Dulay, to fill out. I took Abbie to see Dr. Dulay one Friday. The next week, I tried calling the dental clinic in Tachachale, but the person I needed to speak to was out that week.
A week later, on Monday, Aug. 1, I called Tachachale and asked when I could bring Abbie. A young lady named Nikki answered that I could bring Abbie that evening. It would have been too hard to take Abbie at that time so we made the appointment for the next evening.
I had been told that when we went that Abbie would probably just be seen the first time and that no work would be done; however, when the dentist saw how far we had traveled and the help Abbie needed, he proceeded to do extractions.
Abbie was placed in hand and feet restraints and was awake the whole time. Nikki and about five other dental assistants helped hold Abbie in the chair while the dentist did the extractions. At one point, Abbie tensed her muscle and broke one of the armbands. The dentist was able to keep her from feeling pain by giving her Novocain. The dentist said she was still able to feel pressure, which was why she kept struggling.
An hour or so later, the dentist was through and we were ready to go home.
I thank God that Abbie was finally able to get relief from her bad teeth and she will not have to worry about them anymore. God used Zane Gaston and the dental crew that evening at the Tachachale Dental Clinic to help her out.
If anyone has a family member who is disabled and needs dental work like Abbie had done at Tachachale, they can call Nikki at (352) 955-5616 to set an appointment.