Does your child or a loved one in your care have special needs that require some extra consideration when it comes to their dental care? Special needs dentistry applies to children who have physical or mental conditions that profoundly affect their ability to receive dental treatment. Not all dental offices are trained and equipped to provide special needs dentistry, so it's important to find one that is.
Are you unsure of how to find a qualified special needs dentist near you? Here are some tips to make it easier to find the right dentist for your child or loved one.
Ask for Recommendations
Getting word of mouth recommendations is one of the best ways to find a special needs dentist. Ask for suggestions from:
- Special needs support groups. If you attend a support group for parents or caregivers of special needs children, ask others in your group where they go for dental care. These people are your most valuable sources of information, because they face many of the same challenges when it comes to finding a dental office that is trained and equipped to treat the person in your care.
- The patient’s primary care physician. The primary care pediatrician or doctor your child or loved one sees may have some recommendations for dentists that treat patients with special needs. Physicians who work with special needs patients are often an advocate for their overall health needs, including dental care.
- Other specialists the patient sees. Patients with special needs most likely see specialists in addition to their primary care physician. These specialists often have recommendations for dentists that are known for being accommodating to special needs patients.
Questions to Ask a Special Needs Dentist
Not all dentists that claim to treat special needs patients will necessarily be able to treat your child or loved one. The term “special needs” is used for a wide variety of physical and mental conditions, so it can help to ask the dentist some questions.
- What does special needs dentistry mean to you?
- What disabilities do you have experience with?
- What techniques do you use to help special needs patients feel comfortable?
- Do you use any form of restraint in your practice?
- Can I accompany my child or the patient in my care to the room where they will receive care? Even for complex procedures?
- What forms of sedation do you offer in your practice?
- Will you treat patients who are unable to be sedated due to medical risks?
- What are your strategies for working with patients who resist treatment?
- Do you accept my insurance?
These questions are just a starting point for talking with any potential dentist and dental team who may work with your child or loved one. You may have some additional questions of your own that will pertain to the specific situation you are facing. Tell them about the unique challenges the loved one in your care experiences in regards to their dental care and ask if the dental team is trained and equipped to handle them.
Schedule Meet and Greet Appointments
It can be helpful to schedule meet and greet appointments with potential dentists so that both you and the patient in your care can get a feel for the practice and get to know the dental team. Knowing what to expect is an important part of helping the patient to feel comfortable and relaxed in a new environment.
Tender Smiles 4 Kids Provides Special Needs Dentistry for Children
It may seem difficult to find a qualified special needs dentist near you. But if you’re in Freehold, North Brunswick, Edison, Roselle, or the surrounding area of New Jersey, Tender Smiles 4 Kids is here for you. We treat children with a wide variety of special needs from physical disabilities to mental and emotional disorders. We do our best to create a safe, fun, and relaxing environment for our patients.
Contact us at any of our 5 convenient locations to schedule a meet and greet:
We look forward to providing quality dental care for your child or the loved one in your care.