Special Needs and Oral Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability; that is 26 percent of the total population. Sadly, when it comes to oral health, many adults don’t have annual dental check-ups, but for patients with special needs, specific factors prevent them from receiving dental care.
Regular dentist visits to Dr. Fieldhouse & Dr. Peterson are essential for maintaining oral health and preventing illnesses associated with certain dental conditions. Without professional dental care, patients in La Grange Park with special needs are at risk of oral disease and reduced quality of life.
Who Is Considered a Special Needs Patient?
The Americans with Disabilities Act defines disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This may include hearing, vision, communication, mobility, or other daily living activities.
Patients with special needs include individuals who have accessibility differences such as amputated limbs, or wheelchair mobility; medical complications such as diabetes or stroke; developmental problems such as cerebral palsy; genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome; and cognitive impairments such as dementia or autism spectrum disorder.
What Does a Special Care Dentist Do?
Our special care dentist in La Grange Park is dedicated to promoting oral health and well-being for people with special needs. They have additional training and are equipped to understand and meet the needs of their patients.
Depending on the person with a disability, the patient may require specialized equipment, services, or programs. Some dentists provide special-care dentistry at a dental practice such as Dr. Fieldhouse & Dr. Peterson, and others are part of a dental team at a clinic. In some cases, a general practitioner or another specialist doctor will refer a patient and provide their medical history. This is very important, as people with disabilities may need extra precautions or care.
Why Do Special Needs Patients Need Special-Care Treatment?
Special needs patients may have more than one medical condition that requires more than just routine oral care. If and when possible, caregivers must prepare the patient for a visit, as some patients become anxious. Some patients can communicate directly with our dentist, but in other cases, the dentist may need help from the caregiver and dental assistant to keep the patient calm.
For example, patients with autism may be afraid of lights, sounds, and touch. We specialize in caring for people with disabilities and work with families to ensure that our patients get proper treatment and give advice to caregivers on how to assist the patient at home and between dental visits.
Everyone deserves dental care, and people with special needs are much more vulnerable than others, as poor oral health can impact daily life. Dr. Fieldhouse & Dr. Peterson is equipped to effectively treat people with disabilities daily while providing specialized care. Contact our office today to plan your visit with our special care dentist in La Grange Park.