Treating Dental Patients With Special Needs

dental patients with special needsDental patients with special needs are people with medical, physical, psychological or social circumstances that require a change in the normal routine. In the field of dentistry, a patient with special needs will require change in regular dental approaches.

Dental patients with special needs can include aging and elderly people, individuals with mobility issues, mentally disabled individuals, people with compromised immune systems or complex medical problems, people with mental illnesses, and children with behavioral or emotional conditions.  Many patients in these categories have higher rates of poor oral hygiene and may be at higher risk of gum disease and cavities.

Dentists that treat patients with special needs will need to be more accommodating. They will need flexible appointment scheduling, possibly more assistants for the exams, and knowledge of medical, physical, mental or behavioral conditions.

Dentistry For Patients With Special Needs|Consumer Guide To Dentistry

Special Needs Dental Care

Special Needs Adults were given dental care over a period of 10 years in a study done by researchers at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. The study found that among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the chance of having cavities decreased as the number of years they received dental care increased.

The researchers studied dental records of 107 Special Needs patients over a period of 10 years to determine how selected oral healthDental-x-rays, dental health, dental care outcomes changed. They reviewed dental records to determine the presence of cavities, gum disease, dental pain, infection cooperation level during dental exams, and dental hygiene for each individual at three times: the initial visit, midpoint visit and most recent visit.

Based on the results of the study, the patients had a significant decrease in cavities.  Dental pain, infection, cooperation level, and hygiene also tended to improve over time.

The Tufts Dental Facilities Serving Persons with Special Needs provides patients with dental care including examinations, dental cleanings, restorative dentistry, periodontal care, endodontic care, prosthetic dentistry, and tooth extraction. To learn more about this study, read the full article here.