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Taking The Fear Out Of Dental Care

From left, Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS;
John DiNorcia and Alyne Heslin, certified
dental assistant.

John DiNorcia was born with a genetic disability called G Syndrome, which left him with an intellectual disability. During his childhood, he attended the Midland School in North Branch, NJ, and currently goes to a Midland Adult Services day program.

When John was growing up in Raritan, NJ, a visit to the dentist, says his mother Dorothy, “made him squirm in fear.”  About five years ago, she discovered the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry, and John’s visits to the dentist have changed dramatically. “It’s very hard finding a dentist for a person with a disability,” Dorothy DiNorcia says.  “Most dentists wanted to put him out because they felt they could clean his teeth better that way.  One dentist even told me to sit on him while he was being treated.” At Matheny, “he walks in all by himself. The staff talks to him in a very calm way. Everyone is so friendly."

The Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry specializes in healthcare for people with mild to severe developmental and intellectual disabilities in an outpatient setting. Dental services and treatment include x-rays, cleanings, treatment of cavities, extractions, restorative dentistry, oral surgery and root canals. Services are provided in partnership with Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.

What differentiates Matheny’s dental clinic from most dental practices is that its dentist, Mengchi Steven Yang, DDS, is trained to provide care for patients who may make sudden, involuntary movements or who may need to be lifted from a wheelchair to the dentist’s chair. And the environment is friendly to patients with disabilities, who often feel out of place in an ordinary dentist’s office.

“It has to do with how they handle him, “ says  Dorothy DiNorcia. “They talk to him. They show him everything.”

Insurance covers less than 50% of the cost of care at the Matheny Center of Medicine and Dentistry. Your contributions to the #GivingTuesday campaign will make certain that those with the greatest need continue to get the support and services they deserve.