for Special Needs
Adults and children with special needs have their own sets of challenges when it comes to maintaining their teeth. Sensory differences can make brushing a challenge, and visits to a dental office can be very scary and frustrating.
Dr. Katherine Sislow spent a year in a hospital-based residency where she had a large focus on working with patients with special needs. She is experienced in managing these patients in a dental office and education techniques to improve oral care. She was also trained in providing dental care, while a patient is under general anesthesia, in a hospital setting for patients who cannot tolerate a traditional setting. Her goal, however, is to keep her patients from requiring sedation or general anesthesia.
(sounds, sights, and smells)
We have closed operatories to help decrease stimulus (sounds, sights, and smells), as well as longer appointment times to help our special needs patients. We also have Nitrous Oxide (also known as laughing gas) for patients who can tolerate the nose piece, as well as oral sedatives, to help them relax throughout the appointment.
Tips for Dental Patients With Special Needs
Do not use the words 'Shot', 'Needle' or 'Pain'. These are scary words, as they can make the patient very nervous.
Feel free to bring a blanket, stuffed animal, headphones, etc., which can help them feel more relaxed.
For patients with higher anxiety or those who struggle with new places, the first visit can be a 'tour' of the office to see where it is, how to get there, who the people are, what they are wearing, maybe sit in the 'big chair' (or not!). The appointments can be customized to every patient.
Many patients do better with a 'weighted blanket'. We tend to use our heavy lead vests which we normally have for x-rays. It helps calm many patients down and is a soothing sensation.
Ask questions before the appointment. If you know that your special needs child or adult will need specific accommodations, please let us know and we will do all that we can to help!