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Special Needs Dental Clinics
A special needs dentistry appointment will often take more time than a regular appointment because dentists who work with disabled adults and children will often be a little slower and careful in order to make sure the patient is as comfortable as possible.
A special needs dentist appointment may also be scheduled for an unusual time of day or day of the week in order to make sure that there are a few other patients present as possible. This also means that additional staff members can be on hand to assist the special needs patient if necessary. Furthermore, a special needs dentist may set up an additional “familiarity” appointment as described in the next section.
“Be sure to give the dental office you choose detailed information about the special needs condition. The insight can make a big difference in designing care that meets the best interest of the patient involved.”
What is special needs dentistry?
Special needs dentistry is a specialized field of dental work that is designed to provide oral health care for patients who have additional concerns that might make it difficult for them to go to a general practitioner. Special needs dentists often work with those who have medical, developmental, sensory, cognitive, and/or physical disabilities. These can include but are certainly not limited to patients who have:
- Down Syndrome
- Spinal cord injuries
- Alzheimer’s disease
Among others. Not every special needs individual has to see a special needs dentist. For example, those with high functioning Autism may have no trouble taking a trip to a regular dental practitioner. But if you find going to a dentist’s office difficult or uncomfortable for any reason, a special needs dentist will be able to help you.
How do I find a dentist for my special needs child near me?
There are many dentists across the country that can help provide care to your child with special needs. When starting your search for a dentist for your special needs child, begin by searching for pediatric dentists. They often have 2-3 years of extra schooling and can have certain expertise for accommodating children with special needs.
Special needs pediatric dentists are aware that dental care for special needs patients is extremely important and any dentist will be willing to work with you come up with the best ways for providing care for your child.
Special needs dentist procedures
A special needs dental practitioner can do all the same things that a regular dentist does. Broadly, this includes assessment, diagnosis, treatment, management and preventative assistance for any area in the mouth or relating to the teeth. They can help you with tooth and gum pain, crooked teeth, cavities, fillings, braces, brackets, crowns, and more.
The difference, then, between a regular dentist and a special needs dentist is that the latter has been specially trained to work with patients who need extra care and attention in order to feel comfortable during these procedures.
For example: if a patient experiences sensory overload, a special needs dentist may schedule their appointment for a time when the office is less busy. The dentist may have a special operating room with softer lighting and fewer distractions. For a patient on the Autism spectrum who relies on familiarity, a special needs dentist may schedule an additional appointment beforehand in order to familiarize the patient with the equipment that will be used and walk them through the upcoming procedure to make it less frightening.
Dentists for disabled adults will also use special equipment as described in the next section, such as special chairs for the physically disabled or cleaning equipment that stimulates the gums more or less depending on the comfort of the individual.
In certain circumstances, a special needs dentist will give the patient a general anesthetic during the dentistry procedure. This means that the patient can sleep through whatever dentistry is being performed in comfort and safety, without potentially causing harm to themselves or the dentist.
Special needs dentist equipment
Dentists who work with disabled adults and children will often use equipment that is different from the equipment used by general dental practitioners. Here are a few things you might see in the office of a special needs dentist.
Firstly, patients with ADHD and certain cognitive disabilities may find that physical stimulation puts them at ease. There are special electric toothbrushes that may be used as part of special needs dentistry to assist these patients by putting extra pressure on the teeth and gums in a way that feels pleasant, but not harmful.
Conversely, some patients suffer from sensory overload and need as little stimulation as possible during the tooth cleaning process in order to feel at ease. For these patients, a special needs dentist may use non-electric cleaning devices and materials.
Patients with cerebral palsy will have their head and neck securely stabilized, usually with specially-shaped pillows that the dentist will provide. This prevents such patients, who may have sudden uncontrolled movements, from hurting themselves and others during their oral treatment.
Finally, there are a number of special chairs that a dentist who works with disabled adults and children may purchase to facilitate patients who are in a wheelchair or have other mobility concerns.
Dentists For Special Needs Adults And Children
No matter what special care you or your child may require, special needs dentists can work with you to provide the most comfortable and pleasant experience possible. Going to the dentist doesn’t need to cause you any stress at all!
If you’re looking for a dentist for disabled adults, don’t hesitate. Call our toll-free dentist finder hotline today and we’ll get you in touch with someone who’s able to work with your financial and medical needs. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so you never have to worry about finding emergency dentistry on short notice.
Frequently Asked Questions About Special Needs Dental Care
Are there wheelchair accesible dentists near me?
A special needs dentist near you may be wheelchair accessible. To find out if a dental office can accommodate someone in a wheelchair call the office to find out.
Where can I find a special needs dental clinic?
Dentistry for special needs patients is widespread across the United States. As you begin searching for a special needs dentist, begin by talking to your primary care provider. They may have suggestions for dentists for special needs children or adults. You can also search in Google to find a local dentist or use our phone service at Emergency Dentists USA.
Medically Fact-Checked & Written by Our Dental Editorial Team
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