Think about how many times per day you rely on your teeth. You use them to chew breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. You press your tongue against them to make certain sounds when you speak. There's really no doubt about it — your teeth are important, and they deserve your respect. You can pay them that respect by visiting your dentist for regular cleaning and checkup appointments. You should also call at the first sign of dental pain, tooth discoloration, or other oral health changes. Read more about dentists and dentistry here on this blog, where we dive deep into related topics.
People with special needs require the same medical care as everyone else, which includes proper dental care. However, even routine dental exams can be an ordeal for people with physical or mental disabilities. Special needs dentistry is a branch of dentistry designed with the intention of helping these patients. Here are four attributes special needs dentists possess which make them uniquely suited to care for patients with disabilities.
1. Special needs dentists offer dental care at a slower pace.
Most patients want to get their dental exams over with as soon as possible. In these cases, a fast, efficient approach is best. However, fast-paced dental appointments can be distressing to people with special needs. Slow patient care can keep special needs patients calm. Special needs dentists are used to taking this approach. They schedule patients for larger blocks of time, so there is never any need to rush. Special needs dentists take their time.
2. Special needs dentists are qualified to provide general anesthesia.
In some cases, patients are unable or unwilling to cooperate with dental treatment. Patients who are distressed at the sights, sounds, or feelings of dental treatment may find even routine exams traumatic. Fortunately, there are options available to give even the most difficult patients the care they need. Special needs dentists can perform dental exams, fillings, and endodontic treatments while their patients are under the influence of general anesthesia. While there are some risks associated with general anesthesia, a special needs dentist will carefully weigh the risks versus the benefits to come up with the best, safest treatment plans for each patient.
3. Special needs dentists can recommend adjustments to typical dental care guidelines.
Dental care guidelines are standardized. Experts recommend twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. These tasks may sound simple, but they can be difficult for people with injured hands or arms, motor function problems, or sensory processing issues. Home oral care is still important for people with special needs. Special needs dentists can prescribe modified routines to help people who have difficulty adhering to the standard guidelines. Less frequent teeth brushing and flossing is better than nothing. Harm-reduction dental care techniques can prevent many future problems.
4. Special needs dentists can accommodate medical equipment.
Some people with physical disabilities have medical equipment to help them function. Wheelchairs are a common medical device that would preclude treatment in an ordinary dental chair. Special needs dentists may have modified exam rooms that allow them to accommodate people with medical devices.
To learn more, contact a special needs dentist.Share