Sharad Pandhi, D.D.S., of Tucson, AZ

In addition to his office practice, Dr. Pandhi does house calls on Fridays where he treats up to 10 patients. He also makes home visits on Saturdays and weekday evenings and, like Dr. Ghorbani, charges $95 for travel, plus the same rates as for in-office procedures. Transportation is the biggest issue for many of his patients. Dr. Pandhi, a Tucson Dentist, said, "They're at the mercy of when they can get picked up, and they often had to wait four to five hours in the waiting room for their rides."I was doing a fellowship at the University of Washington School of Dentistry where I learned how to treat the developmentally disabled -- what their limitations are and what you have to worry about," he said in an interview with DrBicuspid.com." So when I started my practice in 1987, I decided to provide this service since I had gained the knowledge of how to do it. The patients so appreciate it, and the families appreciate it."

"There's a growing aging population who have maintained their teeth a long time," Dr. Pandhi said. "There are a lot more people in their 90's with quite a few natural teeth; also, dentistry has improved a great deal." But he does not make house calls to those who can come to his office. "I'm trying to provide services to those who otherwise wouldn't have access to dental treatment," Dr. Pandhi noted.

He performs nearly all the same procedures during house calls as in his office: fillings, root canals, crowns, bridges, restorative work, and periodontal treatments, including root planning and scaling. He does not do surgical procedures or extractions out of concern about sepsis or providing a sterile field, Dr. Pandhi said. He only uses sedation in hospital settings for the developmentally disabled.

Most of his house call patients are more than 70 years old, but he does treat younger patients with developmental disabilities. The most difficult, Dr. Pandhi said, "are those with developmental disabilities and elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease." "It's difficult to communicate with them and have a rapport with them so they can understand and follow instructions."

READ MORE