If you have friends or family members who require Special Needs dentistry, it’s important to find a dentist who can provide comprehensive, compassionate dental care. For example, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may forget about regular home care or get upset if someone new tries to perform a dental exam. Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, and any illnesses that relate to movement can make brushing and flossing difficult, increasing the risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Conditions like autism or Down’s syndrome can make appointments stressful for the patient and the caregiver.
Patient limitations may require that you find a dental office willing to modify traditional treatment and accommodate the specific needs of your loved one. The following tips may help you find the right dentist:
Start the process by asking for referrals from co-workers and friends who have a dentist they like and trust.
Schedule a time to meet the team, interview the dentist, and explain the situation. You may choose multiple candidates so that you have several options to consider.
Work with the dentist to creatively develop a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s needs and ability to tolerate the prescribed therapy.
Prepare your loved one in advance by reminding the patient of the upcoming visit. Use positive words or phrases and don’t mention anything that might cause fear or concern.
Before treatment, ask that the dentist and staff take extra time to explain the procedures and sooth any concerns your loved one may have.