Children and adults with special needs require frequent dental check-ups and occasional treatment, just like everyone else.
We know that visiting the dentist isn’t a lot of fun. But it can be particularly distressing for patients who have special needs. Similarly, to anxious and phobic patients, the sights, sounds and smells of a practice can be overwhelming to patients who have special needs.
There are dental practices that specialise in treating those with special needs. Special needs dentistry is a branch of dentistry for which doctors have undergone additional training alongside their dental nurses and auxiliary staff. When looking for a dentist, parents of SHCN patients should find a practitioner who understands the wide range of issues these patients face, and can accommodate those needs.
How will treatment differ?
An appointment at the dentist for a patient who has special needs is generally different to that of a regular patient. The dentist will be made aware beforehand and will tailor the treatment to the requirements of the special needs patient. Occasionally only minimal treatment tailoring will be necessary, but it truly depends on the patient. In some practices, there may even be specialised equipment to aid treatment of special needs patients.
Consider a consultation…
Patients with special needs may find it beneficial to have an initial consultation and meeting with their dentist. This allows the dentist to get to know the patient and the patient’s requirements prior to treatment. This can usually be organised by contacting the practice and explaining that you would like a consultation.
You may have to provide information about the patient during a consultation, basic personal details, but also information about the patient’s overall health, any medications that they take, recent operations or any allergies. Providing this information is vital. This is so that the dentist can ensure they are providing safe and comfortable treatment for the patient.
At an appointment, you will find that the dentist will take a much slower approach, taking care to explain every step of the appointment to the patient, and if applicable, the patient’s parent or carer. The dentist will also provide thorough information about any necessary treatment that the patient needs.
Finding a dentist
If you don’t have a special needs dentist near you, don’t worry. Most dentists have the compassion and understanding required to treat ALL kinds of patients and nothing should be too much trouble – hopefully!
If you need to register with a dentist or register someone with special needs, we can help you. Head to our website, www.defactodentists.com and search your town to get started. Browse through all the relevant practices and read reviews from previous patients. Then, simply get in contact with the practice that best suits your needs.