Are you looking for a pediatric dentist that provides special needs dentistry for children? Special needs dentistry covers a wide range of patients from those with physical disabilities to those with behavioral and emotional concerns. Special needs children are sometimes referred to as “exceptional children”, which puts the focus on the positive qualities more than the difficulties.
If your child requires some exceptional care from a dental office, here’s what that should look like.
Treating children with special needs sometimes requires special equipment. For example, if a patient needs to receive dental care in their own wheelchair, it is necessary to have a room with enough space and tools that will reach far enough. The entire office, including entrances and exits will need to be wheelchair accessible.
Communication equipment may be necessary in some cases, such as hearing assistance, sign language interpretation, and other language translation services. Technology can help with many of these communication barriers.
Dentists and dental support staff, such as hygienists and dental assistants, should have specific training in special needs dentistry. If a dental office claims to offer special needs services, they should be adequately trained and prepared to provide care to patients with a wide range of needs and disabilities. Many patients have special health concerns from compromised immunity to frequent seizures to blood clotting disorders.
All of these things can affect the way the patient’s dental care should be administered. Ultra sterilization of tools, extra PPE worn by staff, careful use of tools to prevent bleeding, and other special precautions may need to be taken.
Plenty of Experience
Training alone cannot prepare dental staff for actively treating patients with special needs. Experience working with exceptional patients is the best preparation anyone can have. If a patient with autism or a severe emotional disorder has extreme anxiety about going to the dentist, experience can help the dentist and support staff know what to do to help calm their fears and establish trust.
Relationships are crucial with special needs children and their parents. Routine is important for some patients, so they need to see the same faces when they visit the dentist to help them feel comfortable. Even the scheduling staff can help to ensure that appointments are made with the same hygienist and dentist for every visit.
Sedation dentistry is extremely helpful for children with special needs. Sometimes the fear, stress, and emotion that a child feels about a dental procedure or just a routine cleaning can be overwhelming. It can be in the patient’s best interest to be sedated so that the dentist and staff can provide more effective care.
It may be necessary to have additional staff on hand for a patient with special needs. It can help to have an extra set of hands, or someone to provide a distraction while another staff member is providing care.
Dental Advice for Parents of Special Needs Children
Look for a dentist that has all of this in place. Don’t settle for a dental office that claims to offer special needs dentistry, but doesn’t have the necessary training, experience, or equipment.
When it comes to dental care at home, provide accommodations in every way possible to encourage self care. Electric toothbrushes, stick flossers, toothbrushes with big handles for a better grip, and other tools can make it possible for your child to be more independent with their own dental hygiene.
Orange County Pediatric Dentistry Provides Care for Children with Special Needs
At Orange County Pediatric Dentistry, we provide care for all children, including those with special needs. Our office is equipped to treat all patients with the necessary tools, technology, and environment. If you have any questions about whether or not we can provide dental care for your child, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.