Our dentists are dedicated to providing quality dental care to all of our patients regardless of their physical or mental capabilities.
There are many patients described as having special needs, which would include those with autism, developmental disorders, sensory issues, and any physical or behavioural impairment.
Our dentists are trained in comprehensive dental education specific to children and those patients with special needs.
Your child will be given a comprehensive examination to determine specific dental needs.
You may be a part of the process in terms of helping hold their hands and comforting them.
There are extreme circumstances where the examination must be done just prior to treatment while under a determined type of sedation.
If X-rays are required, our staff is fully trained to do these using techniques most comfortable to the patient.
Based on the specific needs of your child, our dentists will offer several options for treatment.
Those include local anesthesia and nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, intravenous sedation, or a referral for general anesthesia.
Oral Care for the Special Needs Patient
Brushing and flossing are important preventive steps. Toothbrushing removes food particles and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. A brush with soft rounded bristles is recommended, as it is less likely to injure the gum tissue. Flossing is the only way to remove plaque and food particles between the teeth and under the gum line.
Assistance may be required depending upon the limitations of the patient. Those who have limited or lack of manual dexterity to brush well on their own will need assistance.
• Enlarge the toothbrush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip. Also lengthening the toothbrush with a ruler or wooden tongue depressor helps. Using an electric toothbrush is helpful, as they have a larger handle and bristles of the brush are moving for you.
• Flossing is most easily accomplished with the use of a commercially available floss aid or holder.
• It is not always necessary to use toothpaste if this adds to the anxiety of the patient. It is the mechanical removal of the food and plaque that is most important and can be accomplished with a wet toothbrush.
• Rinse mouth by using a wet gauze or washcloth for those who cannot tolerate swallowing water.
How to Assist with Brushing and Flossing:
When assisting with oral hygiene choose an area that is well lit, like the kitchen. If the child is in a wheelchair, the kitchen is probably the best place.
If your child is uncooperative, approach him in a very calm and reassuring manner, explaining in simple terms what you are going to do. Remember that some children are oversensitive to having anything placed in their mouths, so you must move very slowly as to not startle the child. Give verbal praise and reinforce independent attempts of care.
When assisting with oral hygiene, you may find the most comfortable position is behind the child, while they are laying on the sofa or floor with the head supported, remembering to take special care to prevent them from choking or gagging. Again, using wet gauze in this position minimises the onset of gagging or choking.