Special Needs.

DENTAL CARE FOR SPECIAL NEEDS

We are a special needs dentistry practice. We are passionate about our work and our practitioners are highly trained to effectively treat adults and children with a wide range of special needs which includes developmental, physical, emotional, cognitive, sensory and/or mental impairment.

Autism:

Dental treatment for anyone with autism can be challenging because of impaired social skills, erratic and unpredictable behaviour, as well as their potential hypersensitivity to light, sound or touch could impact the procedure and requires leniency with time.

We strive to maintain a calm and consistent environment where children, in particular, can feel relaxed and safe. We encourage parents or caregivers to work with us to ensure that the patient’s visit to the dentist is a positive experience. The first visit is generally shorter so that the patient can be introduced to our Specialist Dentist, other staff, facilities and the instruments that will be used to examine and treat their teeth. It may take a number of visits to build their confidence and for us to acquaint ourselves with their behavior patterns, but no matter how long it takes, we will be there to support the patient.

Children and adults with autism may suffer from some oral health conditions which can be brought on by certain prescribed medications or oral habits. It’s therefore important to have regular dental check-ups and daily oral hygiene routines.

Cerebral Palsy:

Patients with Cerebral Palsy can present with mental and physical challenges that can impact on their oral health care.

Although Cerebral Palsy is not the cause of any unique oral abnormalities, patients with Cerebral Palsy tend to have more oral health issues than those from the general population. Often teeth are misaligned (malocclusion) and they may grind of their teeth. Cerebral Palsy patients are also more susceptible to bacterial infections and damage to the mouth due to seizure trauma.

Before the first visit to our clinic it’s essential that we receive a medical history that is both accurate and current. This will give us time to review the patient’s situation before the appointment and we can make informed decisions on how we best treat and manage their oral health.

In many cases, children who cannot control or coordinate their facial muscles find it difficult to chew and swallow; drooling and the inability to empty food pouches after a meal is common and brushing and flossing their teeth and rinsing their mouths may be difficult. In these circumstances plaque can form on the teeth which in time can cause tooth decay.

We are highly trained in this area of dentistry. Even if the patient is in a wheelchair, we will adapt our surgery to accommodate the wheelchair during their treatment. We are well-equipped to deal with most issues including seizure management. It is our mission to work together with you to ensure your visit to our clinic is a pleasant and anxiety-free experience.

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Downs Syndrome:

As with other patients with special needs, it’s important that before the first visit to our clinic that we receive a medical history that is both accurate and current. This will give us time to review the patient’s situation before the appointment and we can make informed decisions on how we best treat and manage their oral health.

Children with Downs Syndrome tend to get both their primary and permanent teeth later. In many cases, the child may only get their first teeth at 2 years of age and their permanent teeth between 8-9 years of age. The teeth of Downs Syndrome children also tend to be smaller with shorter, conical roots and often they are missing teeth.

Large tongues are another characteristic of paitents with Downs Syndrome and this may impair their speech development. The tongue also tends to develop fissures and cracks over time and this is largely due to chronic mouth breathing. Mouth breathing may also lead to a reduction in saliva in the mouth and without this natural mouth cleanser holes or cavities may present, although historically patients with Downs Syndrome tended to have less incidence of tooth decay.

Patients with Downs Syndrome have an impaired immune system and are therefore at risk of gum disease. We encourage these patients to brush their teeth twice a day, floss frequently and make regular visits to see us so that their gum health can be monitored.