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Hospital Dentistry For Persons With Special Needs

Who needs special-care Dentistry? 


Everyone needs to be able to have dental care. 


People with physical disabilities may have problems getting into the  surgery or even 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.


Oral diseases can have a direct and devastating impact on the general  health and quality of life. Individuals with certain systemic health problems  or conditions such as compromised immunity (e.g., malignancies, human  immunodeficiency virus, history of organ transplantation) or cardiac  conditions at a high risk for infective endocarditis may be especially  vulnerable to the effects of oral diseases.

Practices should offer facilities for wheelchair users, including access to the  practice, and ground-floor surgeries. If wheelchair access is particularly  important, contact the surgery and ask if this is something they are  prepared for. Some clinics have specially adapted surgeries for patients  with mobility problems.

Children with learning disabilities or other medical conditions may be  referred to a specialist dental service by their doctor or dental team. It is  important to consult a Dentist at an early age. A low-sugar diet is also  important and make sure they have Fizzy drinks, Sugary foods just at  mealtimes.

It is important to visit the dental team regularly. This would normally be  every six months, but some people need to visit less often and others more  often. The dental team will be able to tell you.

Many patients with disabilities have to rely on medication to keep their  condition under control. It is therefore important to ask the doctor to  prescribe sugar-free medicines, especially if they are syrups. It is important to tell the dental team about any medication that the patient  is taking, in case the treatment is affected or the team need to take any  extra precautions.

It is recommended that children up to three years old use a toothpaste that  contains at least 1000ppm (parts per million) of Fluoride. Over the age of  three, a Toothpaste that contains 1350 to 1500ppm of Fluoride is  recommended. If the Dentist thinks that the patient is particularly at risk of  tooth decay, they may prescribe a toothpaste or Fluoride varnish which  contains a higher level of fluoride to offer more protection.

Not all oral health professionals are trained in handling persons with special  needs. Because of dental anxiety, a lack of understanding of Dental care,  Oral Aversion, or Fatigue from multiple medical visits and procedures,  children with SHCN may exhibit resistant behaviours. These behaviours 

can interfere with the safe delivery of dental treatment.

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