To maintain good oral health, preventive dentistry should be prioritized. Our team of special needs dentists, assistants, hygienists, and anesthesiologists understand the sensitive nature of providing dentistry for patients who have special needs. Every patient is unique, and we will treat them as such. We understand the necessity of a comprehensive, thorough checkup. If you have questions about our findings and recommended treatment, please ask. We are always happy to answer questions and help caregivers and patients gain a full understanding of the dental treatment plans we recommend.
Visiting the dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning is crucial to stop the development or avoid oral health problems. At your loved one’s appointment, we’ll take any necessary X-rays to make sure that no issues are forming below the gumline and conduct a visual and tactile examination of their teeth and gums to search for any signs of common problems, like cavities and gum disease. We’ll also conduct a quick oral cancer screening. Finally, before we send them on their way, we’ll thoroughly clear any plaque and tartar from the surface of their teeth and polish them, leaving their pearly whites feeling refreshed and healthy.
People who have special needs are at a higher risk of developing certain oral health issues, like cavities, due to neuromuscular issues like drooling or swallowing problems, seizures, gastroesophageal reflux, etc. That’s why it’s especially important that their smiles are protected from the lingering threat of harmful oral bacteria that are known to cause decay. To help ward off the threat of cavities, we can paint a clear, protective coating over the biting surface of their molars. This will keep food debris and plaque from collecting in the grooves, making it easier for your loved one to brush and floss.
Oral cancer is a deadly disease, especially if it’s not caught in its earliest stages. When it’s left to progress, the chances of receiving successful treatment narrow, which is why our team conducts routine screenings to make sure that we spot the signs as soon as possible. We’ll closely examine your loved one’s oral tissues, lips, and throat in search of any symptoms. If we do spot anything, we’ll refer them for additional testing.
Since patients with physical or intellectual disabilities are at a higher risk of developing common oral health problems like decay, proactive protection is key. Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been shown to strengthen the outermost layer of teeth, called the enamel, that’s responsible for guarding the more vulnerable, sensitive structures beneath, like the dentin. If your loved one isn’t receiving enough fluoride, we can place a fluoridated gel over the surface of their teeth to help strengthen them and prevent the development of decay.
Silver diamine fluoride is an FDA-approved treatment to not only stop the progression of cavities, but also protect the decayed tooth from additional damage down the road. The process is simple—our team will paint a topic application onto their cleaned, decayed tooth. It’s completely non-invasive and pain-free. After the substance has been applied, a dental crown or filling may be necessary to restore the structure of it.
Lip and tongue-ties are incredibly common oral issues that can affect your loved one’s ability to easily maneuver their lips and mouth, making speaking or eating more difficult than necessary. This occurs when the piece of tissue that connects their lips to their gums or their tongue to the floor of their mouth is overgrown or too thick. Our team can gently remove this excess tissue to make it easier for them to maneuver their mouth with a procedure called a frenectomy.
Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults in the country, affecting an estimated one out of every two people. In the case of special needs patients, gum disease can occur at any stage of life. When left untreated, the condition can lead to tooth loss, gum recession, bone deterioration, and complication in overall health. Other problems, such as diabetes complications and increased risk for heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer's. etc. are of great concern, as well.
Our gentle hygiene team offers non-surgical periodontal care for special needs patients. Periodontal therapy can involve scaling to remove plaque and tartar (calculus) from below the gum line, root planing to smooth teeth roots, and antibiotic therapy to destroy bacterial infection when indicated. Good gum health contributes to good oral health, which promotes total overall health, so regular checkups and hygiene visits are vital.