Caring for an individual with special needs is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but there’s no denying that it comes with a unique set of challenges. With the laundry list of things you have to think about, we understand if getting to the dentist doesn’t take top billing.
However, you should know that people with special needs have a much greater prevalence of oral health problems than the general population.
With that in mind, it’s important to find a team of dentists that understands what you and your loved one need — and you can find that at Lifetime Dental Care, PLLC. Drs. April Toyer, Leonard Toyer, Edward Park, Christy Hark, and Payal Patel walk through three of the benefits of working with dentists trained in special needs dentistry.
Sedation dentistry is one of the most effective tools in our arsenal when caring for special needs patients. This allows your loved one to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible during their visit. Depending on their needs, we may use one of the following types of sedation:
This is the gentlest kind of sedation. We have our patient inhale a colorless, odorless “laughing” gas (also known as nitrous oxide) that provides almost instant relaxation. The effects of minimal sedation wear off within minutes after they stop inhaling.
Moderate sedation involves taking a pill around half an hour before the procedure. This makes our patients drowsy during their appointment, but they’ll still be conscious.
If your loved one needs a little more relaxation, we recommend deep sedation. This involves administering sedation medication through an IV, which keeps them unconscious during their appointment. We carefully monitor their vital signs and supply a steady flow of oxygen if they opt for this type of sedation.
Sometimes, all a special needs patient needs is a bit more time. Our entire staff (from our receptionist to our hygienists) is patient and prepared to take breaks and work at a pace that suits the individual. This is crucial because our special needs patients often struggle to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine, so we maximize every moment they spend in our office and clean their teeth thoroughly — no matter how long it takes.
Typical dentists don’t leave their training with extensive knowledge of caring for special needs patients. However, our dentists are equipped with the strategies and methods required to be certified special needs dentists.
For instance, we understand that many individuals with special needs care have unique oral health problems. Children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other developmental problems may have bite problems that affect their speech, disrupt tooth alignment, raise their risk for bruxism (tooth grinding), and even impact their breathing patterns.
Special needs children may also experience delayed tooth eruption — many don’t get their first tooth until after the age of 2.
You can rest assured that we’re trained at the highest level and use only the best practices when we care for your loved one.
To learn more about our special needs dentistry services or to schedule an appointment at our Woodbridge, Virginia, office, call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool.