The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Opens New Dental Clinic
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recently opened the doors to its new dental clinic located at the Bell Gateway Building on the second floor, which is part of CAMH’s Queen Street facility.

The new dental clinic was designed by Paul Zung, senior dentist at CAMH. Part of designing a dental clinic for people with mental disorders and addictions is realizing their needs are different from traditional dental patients. The majority of examination rooms at regular dental offices have the patient sitting in a chair facing inwards with the door behind them. This type of setup does not work for mental health and addiction patients. The psychology of these types of patients has to be taken into consideration. Most mental health and addiction patients want to have a clear line of sight to the door and an escape route, should they decide to exit the room quickly.

In addition, it is better for the dentist, hygienists, and dental assistants to not have their backs to the door and be able to see who is coming into the room. Oftentimes, due to the high demand of dental care by people with mental disorders and/or addictions, they tend to wander and want to know how long before they will be seen. So, it is not uncommon for them to walk into an examination room and ask the dentist how much longer they will have to wait.

The new CAMH dental clinic now has four examination rooms to see patients. The previous facility only had two rooms and was located in a basement, resulting in regular overcrowding. At the old facility, it was not uncommon for patients to be waiting in the dentist's offices, their lunchroom, or other areas inside the clinic.

Another issue that was resolved with the new dental clinic was having enough rooms for Dr. Paul Zung and his team of four dental students. Now, each dental student can have their own examination room, while allowing Dr. Zung the ability to better oversee them.

People with mental health disorders and addictions often require much more extensive dental work compared to other people. One issue the dentists face is in cases where the patient cannot be given any anesthesia, numbing agents, or pain relievers. For these patients, the dentists attempt to complete more complex procedures, like having a tooth filled, as quickly as possible to limit the length of time a patient has to experience discomfort.

To this end, the CAMH dental clinic makes it a practice to work on building trust with the patients. Patients are allowed to request the dentist stop a procedure and leave whenever they want.

Even with the newly opened clinic, the demand for psychiatric dental services still exceeds the number of patients the clinic can accommodate. The dentists at CAMH realize it simply is not possible to see everyone, but rather focus on providing the best care possible for the patients they can see and treat.

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Posted by: DSR
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Tag: Dental
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