Special Care Dentistry

Everyone needs to be able to have dental care. However, some people need special facilities or services to have this care provided. People with physical disabilities may have problems getting into the dental chair. People with learning disabilities may become overanxious at the thought of going to the dentist or may need extra reassurance. People suffering from severe medical problems may need extra precautions or care. Dental teams are able to take account of all these things when providing dental care.

The dental team will need to know the patient’s medical history and about any medications they are taking. This includes any inhalers and regularly prescribed medications from the doctor. The dental team will also need to know the name of the family doctor and hospital consultant, and about any recent surgeries or allergies the patient may have.

It is also helpful if the dental team know about any concerns or anxieties the patient has, so that they can help to make the patient feel at ease. This information can be given by the patient’s parents or caregiver. Dentists are prepared for working in these situations.

For some people, moving their arms or hands can be a problem, which makes effective cleaning difficult. It is important to reach all the areas of the mouth to clean effectively. A toothbrush with a small to medium head size with soft to medium bristles is usually recommended.

In some cases, electric or ‘power’ toothbrushes are recommended for people with mobility problems. They are also helpful to people with learning difficulties as they can be a novelty and therefore encourage brushing. The dentist or dental team will be able to offer advice and practical help on brushing and general mouth care.