Everyone needs to be able to have dental care. However, some people need special facilities or services to have this care provided. People with physical disabilities or Autism or those with mental disabilities may become overanxious at the thought of going to the dentist or may need extra reassurance. People suffering from severe medical problems or fractures or deformities might need extra support during dental care.
Who can provide treatment?
Many dentists will happily treat people with special dental needs in their surgery. However, some people find it hard to get to the surgery and so other arrangements may be made by the practice: for example,
home visits and special health centres.
How do I arrange specialist care?
Usually the patient’s dentist or doctor is responsible for referring them to the clinic best suited to their needs along with give the patient’s other medical history.
What do the dental team need to know?
The dental team will need to know the patient’s medical history and about any medicines they are taking.
This includes any inhalers and regularly prescribed medicines from the doctor.
The dental team will also need to know the name of the family doctor and hospital consultant, and about any recent operations and allergies the patient may have.
It is also helpful if the dental team know about any concerns or anxieties the patient has, so that they can help to make the patient feel comfortable.
How accessible are Partha Dental clinics?
Partha offers facilities for wheelchair users, including access to the practice, and ground-floor surgeries. If wheelchair access is particularly important, contact the dental centre beforehand and discuss the logistics of it .
What about special need children’s treatment?
Children with mental or other disabilities or other medical conditions are treated by a specialist dental doctor or dental team. It is important to take children to see the dentist at an early age to mitigate any fear of dentistry !
Make sure they don’t take too many fizzy drinks, and sugary foods and brush regularly .
Why is medication an issue?
Many patients with disabilities have to rely on medication to keep their condition under control. It is therefore important to ask the doctor to prescribe sugar-free medicines, especially if they are syrups.
It is important to tell the dental team about any medication that the patient is taking, in case the treatment is affected or the team need to take any extra precautions.
Is there anything to make brushing easier?
For some people, moving their arms or hands can be a problem, which makes effective cleaning difficult. There are special handgrips and other adaptations which can be fitted to manual toothbrushes to make them easier to hold.
In some cases, electric or ‘power’ toothbrushes are recommended for people with mobility problems.
Is sedation available?
Intravenous sedation (an injection) is an effective way of treating most nervous patients. The drugs given can relax and calm the patient, so treatment can be carried out with the dental team and patient still able to talk to each other. There are certain things that affect a patient’s suitability for this type of sedation. These include weight, age and medical condition. This would all be discussed during the consultation.
What about patients with cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis.
In some cases, the dental team prefer to use other ways of calming the patient. These can include simply talking, visiting the practice to meet staff, or even home visit .These can all be effective in making the patient less anxious and open to treatment .
Finally, regular appointments seem to work better at building trust between the patient and the dental team than long appointments at irregular intervals.
Partha Dental is well equipped to deal with patients with special needs too !