Special needs dentistry
Most dentists are trained to provide dental care for special needs, but not all specialize in special needs dentistry. Dental patients with special needs include those who are physically handicapped, mentally disabled, elderly or aging, as well as those who have a weakened immune system or complex medical problems, a mental illness, or behavioral/emotional conditions.
These individuals are often less likely to practice good oral hygiene, which causes them to be more susceptible to gum diseases and cavities, and may require more frequent and attentive dentist visits. To effectively provide dental care for a special needs patient, a dentist should have an efficient plan for each appointment.
Many special needs patients are most comfortable with a predictable routine that never changes, so each visit should be the same. The dentist should have a complete understanding of the patient’s condition, not just their dental needs, so they know the best way to care for them.
Additional assistance may be necessary during an appointment for better monitoring and control. Sedation dentistry may be recommended for longer appointments to ensure comfort for the patient. If you are searching for a dentist to provide special needs dentistry for you or somebody you care for, here are some questions to consider:
- Does the dentist and staff communicate appropriately and effectively with the special needs individual?
- Are they comfortable developing a relationship and do they listen to your needs? Have they been trained in special needs dentistry?
- Are they willing to accommodate special scheduling hours?
- If the medical care of the special needs individual has caused a financial burden, do they offer payment plan options, financing, or liaisons to pay for dental care?
To learn more about special needs dentistry, contact us at Aspen Dental of Cache Valley.