West Clermont: Dealing with a Dental Abscess


Dena Richter, NP talks with Lisa Jackson, VP of Marketing and Development at HealthSource of Ohio.

I sat down with Dena Richer, the nurse practitioner for West Clermont School Based Health Center (SBHC) and she detailed to me several stories of her experience with the new SBHC. One story illustrated the importance of comprehensive clinics which is timely because  HealthSource of Ohio and Interact for Health are currently looking for donors who want to help fund the dental portion of the West Clermont SBHC.

One day during the spring, a West Clermont middle school student was sent to see Dena with an ear ache that was preventing the student from focusing in class. Dena checked the tearful patient’s ear but everything seemed healthy. As Dena continued to evaluate the student she noticed how swollen the cheek of the patient seemed, so she decided to look inside the patient’s mouth. She found an abscess on one of the patient’s back teeth which had clearly been developing for some time. Dena contacted the patient’s mother and asked permission to make an appointment for the student at a local dentist’s office. Dena described to me that if the parent had called the dentist, the office may have not had an opening for 3-4 weeks. This would have led to the student either being distracted for weeks in class due to the pain, or missing school altogether. If West Clermont had a full scope comprehensive clinic, medical, vision, and dental, the student could have been seen that day. Thankfully, with Dena’s persistence and personal call to the nearest HealthSource dentist’s office she was able to find the student an appointment for the following week— but this meant the student had to endure another week of pain and distraction from learning.

The student returned to class after taking Tylenol, with an ice pack to help ease the pain. Dena also prescribed an antibiotic to address the infected abscess. The student successfully saw the dentist the following week and without the distraction of chronic pain, is now able to more fully engage in the classroom.

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