We specialize in special needs dentistry, helping our patients with cerebral palsy achieve the best possible oral health.
Some parents hesitate to get dental care and treatment for their child with cerebral palsy because they fear it may be difficult or may go poorly. However, at the Dental Anesthesia Center, we specialize in special needs dentistry, helping our patients with cerebral palsy achieve the best possible oral health.
Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that impairs muscle coordination and function. It may be associated with uncontrolled body movements, balance-related abnormalities, seizure disorders, and sensory dysfunction. Many children with CP require a wheelchair and a lifetime of personal care.
Maintaining good oral health for children with cerebral palsy can be difficult for the parents and the dentist. While CP itself does not cause any oral abnormalities, several conditions are more common or more severe in children with cerebral palsy.
Why Children with CP are at Risk for Dental Issues
Many of the symptoms of cerebral palsy lead to oral problems and thus children with CP are at greater risk of developing dental issues. However, it is possible to help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums!
One of the issues with children with CP is the tendency to reflux or vomit on a regular basis. Increased drooling can also contribute to cavities as well as some of the medications that children with CP are required to take. However, there are a number of other issues that contribute to dental problems. Some of these include:
- Difficulty using a toothbrush and floss
- Trouble chewing or swallowing
- Excessive gagging
- Habitual grinding of the teeth
- Having food in the mouth for long periods of time
- TMJ disorders
- Enamel defects
- Malalignment of the upper and lower teeth
Providing Dental Care
When looking for a dentist for your child with CP, it is important to find one that specializes in working with children with special needs. Safety training is required for oral health professionals who work with special needs kids. Some of this training includes:
- Supporting children with involuntary bodily movements
- Knowing how to properly monitor breathing
- Knowing how to clear breathing passages
- Ability to establish a trusting relationship with the child
- Ability to give commands in a friendly yet understandable way
Special Needs Dentistry at The Dental Anesthesia Center
Patients with cerebral palsy in St. Louis may be more hesitant about visiting the dentist for the fear that the visit might go poorly. This is especially true with parents who have young children with cerebral palsy. Luckily, we have Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Thoms on our team, each of whom specializes in working with a wide variety of patients, including those with cerebral palsy.
Our office is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We can accommodate patients with wheelchairs of all sizes.
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The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologists in the State of Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.