What considerations are there for special needs patients?

Preparation can help a special needs patient get ready to visit the dentist. Considerations and questions to ask your dentist during the initial appointment are suggested below.

Physical and mobility concerns

  • Where is the best place to park, or to enter the building?
  • Can the office hallways or clinical rooms accommodate the patient’s means of movement?
  • Would someone from the office be available to help with access?

Health information

  • Does the patient have allergies, medical conditions, medications and had previous surgeries?
  • Who is the patient’s primary care physician?  Have this contact information available in case the dentist needs additional information.

Office environment

  • Is there something that the dental team could do with lighting, sounds or music that could help with the patient in case there are sensory issues?
  • Will there be a service animal?

Emotional needs

  • Is there a time of day that is best suited for the patient’s appointment?
  • What should the dental team know about the patient’s emotional needs in order to better communicate with and care for the patient?

While it may seem there is a lot to consider before an initial dental visit, the above information is valuable for creating a safe and welcoming environment to care for the special needs patient.