Caring for Patients with Mental and Physical Special Health Care Needs

Millions of people live with some kind of special health care need. There are different kinds of special needs. Some people have a mental or intellectual impairment. This means they have limits in learning and adaptive behavior. It may be hard for them to learn or communicate. Or, a person could have a physical special need. For example, a person who can’t walk needs a wheelchair.
Special health care needs can affect everyday life. Even simple things like brushing your teeth or visiting the dentist can be hard for people with additional health care needs. If your child has impairment, you might be concerned about their teeth. This shows you care for them. They may not understand how important it is to take care of their teeth, but you do, and there are things you can do to help them. Here are some things for you to think about.

  • Choose the right dentist. Some dentists get special training to treat children with special needs. Before scheduling an appointment, call the office to find out if the dentist has had this kind of training. If not, you might want to find a dentist who does.
  • Meet the dentist. Take your child to the dentist before their first appointment. Schedule a short visit so your child can meet the dentist and get to know the sights and sounds of a dental office. This could help your child feel more comfortable during their first appointment.
  • Extra help. Some children may need to be given a mild drug so that they can feel relaxed during the dental appointment. There are different ways that these drugs are given. Talk to the dentist about what would be best for your child.