The Importance of Serving Patients Living With Disabilities

Posted on December 3, 2021 in Corporate Social Responsibility

dental staff at Milestone dental clinicDelta Dental of Illinois Dental Director Dr. Jason Grinter served as the dental director for Milestone Dental Clinic in Rockford from 2005-2010. While there, he helped fulfill Milestone‘s mission of serving patients with complex medical needs and disabilities and worked to develop individualized dental treatment plans for each patient.

In honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Dec. 3, Dr. Grinter recounted his time and experience at Milestone, which was awarded both a COVID-19 Renewal Grant and Community Grant through the Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation this year.

“Milestone was my first job after dental school and my hospital residency,” Dr. Grinter said. “Working at Milestone was a very rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.”

While completing his hospital residency at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Dr. Grinter attended a meeting with Kathy Olson, the program administrator at Milestone who was recruiting for a new, full-time dentist position. n 2005, Dr. Grinter said many practices were only hiring for part-time positions, which didn’t appeal to him, and he accepted the role.

At Milestone, Dr. Grinter focused on providing basic comprehensive dentistry that supported oral and overall health. In most instances, he provided care that his patients greatly needed and had not received in a long time.

“It was really rewarding to see the impact of my work at Milestone,” Dr. Grinter said. “I loved hearing stories from family members and caregivers about how once their loved one’s dental needs were addressed, they would notice they were eating better, having less behavioral problems and even requiring less medication than they did before.”

Many families did not realize how much dental treatment their loved one needed, since it was not easy to support daily oral care for them. Dr. Grinter and the staff at Milestone carefully evaluated the oral health of a patient to see the extent of need and source of pain and infection to provide the best course of treatment. Additionally, being dental director at Milestone was rewarding professionally because it pushed him to grow, with Dr. Grinter performing complex oral surgery and endodontic procedures for his patients.

“During my tenure at Milestone, I learned the value of being a patient person, really listening to my patients and being empathetic to their needs and limitations,” he said.

Dr. Grinter is a strong supporter of clinics like Milestone since dental care can be difficult to find for individuals living with disabilities.

“Not being able to find dental care for these individuals can cause needless pain and suffering that would keep anyone from maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Grinter said. 

Learn more about Milestone and how you can help support Delta Dental of Illinois Foundation in its mission to improve the overall health of the communities we serve.