How to Prepare Someone With Special Needs for a Visit to the Dentist

Everyone has the right to access dental services. However, some people may need a bit more care than others when it comes to going to the dentist.

People with physical disabilities, for instance, may require certain modifications to the dental chair. Those with cognitive special needs, however, may become extremely anxious during the procedures and require the dentist to have a different approach while treating them. 

In any case, here are some things you can do to prepare a person with special needs for their visit to the dentist.

First, Talk to the Dentist

You should discuss with the dentist at-length about the person’s individual needs and see if they can accommodate them. While many will be more than happy to make any changes necessary, that may not be possible in some cases. 

For example, a person with a wheelchair may not be able to visit a certain dental facility because they lack a ramp to allow easy access. The dentist may also recommend a colleague who’s better equipped in providing dental work to people with a specific condition.

In either case, doing this also helps the dentist be prepared to treat your friend or family member and take all the necessary precautions to ensure a safe process.

After you get all this information, try to describe the issues the person with special needs has in terms of dental health. The dentist can then take you through a quick rundown of what sort of treatments or actions they will make during the appointment.

Explain What the Appointment Will Look like

If the person in need of treatment has intellectual disabilities, you should try to explain what they should expect during their first appointment. A visit to the dentist can be a rather anxious experience for anyone, and it’s always much better to know beforehand what to expect.

Try to emphasize that:

  • They are not in any trouble
  • The appointment will not last very long, and it will not hurt at all
  • The dentist will happily answer all their questions, so they shouldn’t hesitate to ask
  • It’s important to do exactly what the dentist says (open mouth, hold still, etc.)
  • You will be with them in the office

You can then ask them if they have any questions and let them know you are happy to answer. It’s important to reassure them that they’ll be fine frequently, and you’re doing this to make their teeth strong and healthy!

Speak With a Special Needs Dentist in St. Louis, MO

If your loved one has special needs, get in touch with the team at The Dental Anesthesia Center. We can guide you through how to prepare your loved one for their upcoming appointment and take any needed steps to ensure they are fully accommodated and receive the best dental treatment possible!

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: August 31, 2023

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