PORTLAND -- A trip to the dentist can be an anxiety filled, expensive experience for many people. Add to that the stress of taking a special needs child for a visit and some parents avoid appointments for years.
A Masonic service organization with locations all over the U.S., including Portland, is trying to ease the burden.
The Humanitarian Foundation Grottoes of North America provides free dental care for special needs children. Since 2001, at least 1,400 children have been helped in Oregon and Southwest Washington with the group spending more than $1 million.
“The care costs several thousands of dollars over the years so Layne would not have been able to come as often,” said Kim Logston, the mother of a 12-year-old Layne, who is autistic.
Layne received treatment this week at the Providence Specialty Dental Clinic.
The Grotto pays for special needs patients to be cared for at more than 2 dozen dentists in Oregon.
“We’ve seen so many kids through Grotto. They were in pain and had never seen a dentist,” explained Providence dentist Dr. Monisha Gagneja.
Expenses are paid for children with cerebral palsy, downs syndrome and autism.
“In the 10 years I have been doing this, I’ve never seen one procedure turned down,” said Lloyd Fries, who coordinates efforts in this region.
“They send us thanks you notes for allowing them to take care of our children. It’s special,” concluded grateful mom Kim Logston.
If you know of a child who might benefit, check the HF Grotto website for more information.