Cape May County dentists Dr. Kelly Tallio and Dr. Heather Paparone strive to provide quality care to their patients, even beyond patients' oral hygiene.
To accommodate the needs of their disabled patients, the dentists have created an ADA-compliant examination room in their Rio Grande office, equipped with a wheelchair lift to easily and safely transfer patients from a wheelchair to the dental chair, and more open space in the examination room to allow a wheelchair to navigate the typically tight space.
"My father had a version of ALS, so I'm very aware of the special needs of people who are handicapped, " Tallio said. "When someone's in a wheelchair, transferring (him or her) into a dental chair is almost impossible. We've done it, but it's very dangerous for both them and us."
Their Rio Grande office is the only dentist office in Cape May County with a wheelchair lift, the dentists said.
Cape May resident and longtime patient Tom Marrone, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, is one of their patients who benefits from the specialized room. Until recently, whenever Marrone had an appointment at the office, the two dentists and other assistants, including Marrone's wife, Marie, would have to lift him out of his wheelchair and into the dental chair.
"Now we can just roll his chair next to the dental chair, attach the handles, and it lifts him up, over and down," Marie Marrone said. "Something like that is not cheap to buy, and for (them) to do it anyway just shows what kind of people they are."
Paparone, who has tried out the wheelchair lift herself to make sure it was comfortable for disabled patients, said she and Tallio are proud to be able to serve local residents with special needs.
"It's a little thing, but to someone who is handicapped, it's big," she said.
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To learn more
For more information on the office of Dr. Kelly Tallio and Dr. Heather Paparone, see tallioandpaparonedental.com or call 609-886-8885.