Every individual needs access to dental care. However, people with disabilities may require special services or facilities to access dental care. For instance, a physically impaired person may have trouble getting into the dental surgeon’s room or sitting on the dental chair. A person with special needs may be overanxious at the thought of visiting a dentist and may require extra support. Other special persons suffering from severe medical conditions may require great precaution and care during dental checkups. Dental practitioners must be prepared to handle patients with special needs regardless of the type of disability that may require modification of patients’ conventional treatment plan.
When it comes to dental care, there is no compromise, even in patients with disabilities. That is why dentists are always treating people even in an emergency, to prevent worsening dental problems.
It may be more challenging for people with disabilities to visit the dentist, but there are other options to ensure that they access dental care. They include:
Depending on the disability, an individual may require special features, extra time, or extra care to receive proper dental treatment. Dental specialists can provide these kinds of care. Many dental clinics offer specialist alternative treatment that may involve general anesthesia or sedation. This is suitable for people with learning disabilities, disabled children, or a disabled person who cannot sit still due to the nature of their disability.
The patient’s dentist is responsible for referring them to a clinic that can offer specialist care. The dentist will write a referral letter, attach the patient’s medical history, X-rays, and any other information to give the dental team an idea of their dental history. A dental clinic with specialist care may have a ground floor surgery room or friendly facilities for wheelchair users.
Many dentists will happily treat patients with special needs in their clinics. However, some people may have trouble getting to the dental clinic, which is where special arrangements are necessary, such as home visits.
Dental clinics can take dental care to patients with disabilities at home or where they live. The time of the day when the dentist can visit is often limited to regular surgery hours. A dental practitioner can treat a patient with a disability at home as long as their medical condition requires that.
Helping people with disabilities maintain oral hygiene
Many people with disabilities exhibit poor oral hygiene due to the nature of their disabilities. For instance, the challenges of autism spectrum disorder patients make it hard for the affected person to behave normally. Caregivers must be trained on the importance of oral hygiene to help the patients maintain their oral hygiene.
The clinicians can modify oral self-care devices to improve the effectiveness of oral hygiene in disabled people. For example, the use of a wide-handled toothbrush can help a disabled person who has trouble grasping items.
The entire dental team must be educated on how to take care of patients with special needs. They should also embrace treatment modifications to cater to people with disabilities.
Dental clinics can certainly cater more to dental patients with special needs. Dental practitioners should do everything they can to ensure people with disabilities access dental care, including training their caregivers on good oral hygiene practices.