Special care dentistry or special needs dentistry refers to dental specialties that treat oral health issues of geriatric patients, people with mental disabilities, or any form of physical, psychiatric, and medical issues. Special needs patients require additional care; thus, you may find dental offices offering special care programs with additional staff, special equipment, and a work environment that fully accommodates the special needs of disabled individuals. This helps to make the administration of oral care services like tooth cleanings and other dental service procedures easy.
Special needs dentistry is for persons who fall under any spectrum of disabilities, including children and adults with ADHD, autism, spina bifida, down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. It also includes persons who are deaf, blind or require wheelchair accommodation.
To become a special needs dentist, one has to enroll for a dental degree, after which, upon attaining, one must sign up for an additional post-graduate course to get board certification in special care dentistry.
Over the years, oral health specialists have come up with strategic ways of incorporating special dental care in their practice to cover people with disabilities and ensure that they, too, get access to good dental care.
Most people who need special dental care live in the hospital, at home, in secured units, nursing or residential homes, or at times may be vulnerably housed.
For the majority, the additional care is due to a disability or an impairment that affects their oral health directly or an aspect of a past medical history that negatively affects their dental health. For instance, a patient with a developmental disability like autism is more susceptible to oral health issues like bruxism, dental caries, delayed dental eruption, and tongue thrusting, all of which can have a toll on your dental health if not addressed timely and appropriately.
If you are looking for dental care for special needs patients, visit Concord Dental & Orthodontics, a Concord dental clinic with a qualified dentist for special needs patients.
People with disabilities often have caregivers who look after them and their needs. The caregivers play a role that influences the dental healthcare of the one being cared for as they are responsible for booking their dental appointments at dental offices as well as facilitating their transport means. Lack of time on the part of caregivers is a factor that contributes to missing important dental appointments and checkups by the special needs patient. Sometimes the caregiver is unwilling to participate in the scheduled visits because they are uninformed and hence do not see the importance of availing the patient for the appointment, or if they are the sole providers, they have to put their plans on hold or cater for the treatment costs.
Other challenges individuals with disabilities face include:
Poor dental health is generally going to affect your general health negatively: thus, excellent dental care is beneficial to people with disabilities as it helps them maintain good oral health, thus improving the overall general body health, which enhances their quality of life.