Considerations For Dental Patients With Special Needs

FOR BOTH CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, dental care can be challenging. In some cases, limited coordination can make brushing and flossing tricky. In other cases there may be less access to professional care. Some patients may experience high anxiety levels too.

Medications that lead to dry mouth can also contribute to dental care challenges.

But despite these challenges, everyone deserves a healthy smile. Here are three tips for helping patients and caregivers:

1. Let Us Help

A dental office can feel overwhelming to those with special needs. But you know that regular preventative care training is essential—especially for patients and caregivers who may need instructions about specialized home care. Let us know what we can do to help.

2. Utilize Special Tools If Needed

The average toothbrush may not be ideal. Look into alternative options that can help.

  • Electric toothbrushes can sometimes do more with less effort.
  • Modifying a toothbrush with a gripping tool is often very helpful.
  • A water pik can be more comfortable and a fun alternative to flossing.
  • If you’re cleaning someone else’s mouth, a floss pik can make it much easier.

3. Simple Preventative Habits

Certain simple habits can curtail dental risks, especially when thorough, daily dental care is difficult.

  • Minimize snacks, especially starchy, sugary ones. Opt for crisp fruits and veggies.
  • Reduce soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These have lots of acid and sugar that can harm teeth.
  • Drink water regularly, and rinse after each meal or snack.

We Know That Each Patient Is Unique


When we talk about special needs, we recognize we’re addressing a very diverse group from elderly men and women with Alzheimer’s disease, to children with developmental disabilities. We know each patient who comes through our door has different challenges.

Please consider us your go-to resource. If we can’t accommodate your exact needs, we will do everything we can to advise you and point you in the right direction. Please call to visit with us about your specific needs. Or, if you know someone who could benefit from this post, please pass this information along.

Thanks for the trust you place in us. We appreciate you.

Top image by Flickr user Honza Soukup used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

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