Understanding Special Needs Dentistry

Our Dental Blog | Dental Tips, Info & tips | 03.15.2021

According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry (ACFD), the delivery of special care dentistry is a common concern for parents across our country. 

Currently, treatment for special needs Canadians comes with considerable barriers, which are evaluated by the “6 A’s of Access.” Affordability, availability, accessibility, accommodation, acceptability, and ability for oral self-care. 

With so much standing in the way, it is undeniable that there is a demand for more dentists that can treat patients with special needs. 

But, before we address where you can find solutions, you might be interested in what these professionals mean to our communities, and exactly what their specialization means for families across Canada.

What’s Different About Dental Care for Special Needs Patients

The journey to becoming a dentist is admittedly not an easy one. However, much like all health care professions, dentistry is meaningful for both patients and practitioners. 

Special care dentistry (SCD) has a duty not only to increase professionals’ responsibilities, placing greater emphasis on individual care but also the leadership to increase awareness for families to understand the unique needs each patient can hold.

Much like teachers and doctors, dentists have on-going or continual education to earn speciality within their role. Examples of such are orthodontists, dental surgeons, endodontists, etc. 

Nevertheless, oral health care for those with special needs is a complex subject. 

For some, dentist visits can be limited due to physical or cognitive barriers. Because of these differences, SCD are often adapting their skillsets for new techniques and treatment options in an effort to meet the differences between each patient. 

Patients who might benefit from a special care dentist include those who experience dementia or have Alzheimer’s, patients with Autism spectrum disorder, and those who lack mobility due to injury or otherwise. You can find the Canadian Dental Association’s list of Vulnerable Canadians here.

Finding a Dentist Who Specializes in Treating People with Special Needs

Before you set out on your task of finding your special care dentist, there are aspects you should know to make the process simpler for yourself. 

Before finding a dental professional, write down the particular needs of the patient and any questions you may have on your mind. This will make it easier for your dentist to discuss their skillsets and how it will pertain to the treatments. 

Details you might want to prepare can be:

  • Can appointments be taken in the office or will they be held in an outpatient scenario?
  • Will the patient require sedation or any pre-medications?
  • A list of any medications the patient is currently taking.
  • Does the patient utilize a wheelchair?

Dentists who specialize in care for special needs are often attentive and personal, meaning they keep detailed records of their appointments and patient’s needs. Having prepared your thoughts beforehand can mean the difference between finding the right or wrong dentist for your specific needs. 


How Treehouse Dental Care Can Help You

Over the years, we have taken the time to connect with our patients and understand what is unique about them. With all of our dentists specialized to care for those with special needs, you can be sure that you or your loved one will receive professional and compassionate care from a team that understands your needs. 

If you or a loved one requires Special Care Dentist, please give us a call and we can let you know if our team is the right fit for you.

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