- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - “What about caramels? Can I eat caramels?” Lester Meyer asked his dentist, models of dentures laid out in front of them.

“You can have caramels. Soft caramels,” responded Dr. Eric Compton, who has a dental practice in Munster.

Meyer and Compton were having this consultation about dentures not in a stuffy, sterile dental office but in the comfort of Meyer’s home, right at his kitchen table.

Compton recently started doing house calls, just like his dad, George, did after starting the practice in 1957.

“It’s come full circle,” said Jana Allen, George Compton’s daughter and director of the dental home health program. Compton even now does his father’s dental care at home.

In a time when many health care professionals are going the opposite direction, offering virtual appointments by smartphone, Compton is taking it old school. The service is also unique because the few house call physicians who do exist nowadays tend to be medical doctors.

Compton has discovered there is quite a bit of demand for home dental visits. He recently expanded to doing them two to three days a week. He has traveled all over the Region, from the South Side of Chicago to Michigan City to DeMotte.

He has visited patients who were pregnant and on bed rest, morbidly obese and agoraphobic, as well as children with sensory issues because of their autism. The appointments have been about equally divided between cleaning, toothaches and dentures. Compton can do everything in the home besides fillings and other surgeries: cleaning, extractions, X-rays. The home visits cost $50 above the regular appointment fee.

During the recent appointment at the Meyer residence in the Cobblestones subdivision in Munster, Compton talked to Meyer, his former barber, about whether he should get plastic or porcelain dentures. They discussed the differences in prices and durability.

It’s not hard to see why the service would be in demand. It would have been a big production to get Meyer, 90, out of his wheelchair and into the car and to the office, all for something that could easily be done in the home. In fact, Compton will do the impressions as well as the post-operative checkups at Meyer’s home; the only thing he has to do in the office is the actual procedure.

“The kids don’t have to take off work to bring mom and dad to a dental appointment,” Allen said. “We can come to them.”

Meyer’s wife, Rosemary, said that without the option of a home visit the couple might have put off seeking treatment. With Lester in a wheelchair, it’s not as easy for them to get around as it once was.

“We would have had to delay in trying to solve a problem, and we might have run into more problems,” she said. “It’s far less stressful having someone come to the home and give you advice.”

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Source: The (Northwest Indiana) Times, https://bit.ly/2gwAzFG

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Information from: The Times, https://www.nwitimes.com


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