Special Need Dentistry and Orthodontic Services who Require Additional Assistnace

Locations in Edina & Maple Grove to Better Serve You

Special Needs Dental Options

A definition of special needs is that it is a clinical term from a diagnosis to describe individuals who require assistance for a disability, whether it be medical, mental or psychological. We all want specialized, individualized care when it comes to anything in the service industry. We want to be treated special if it is at a restaurant or getting a haircut. Dentistry and specifically orthodontics are no different. Each and every one of us has our own unique set of challenges when it comes to our oral hygiene and proper care of our teeth and gums. Special needs dentistry takes just a little more patience, a little more compassion, and a little more family involvement.

what makes special needs dentistry Different

Children or adults that have been diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety disorders, autism, Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate issues or any other behavioral issue still need dental care. The staff at Dr. Pan’s office have had the training necessary to adapt their practices to accommodate a patient with special needs. It may include enhanced communication, positive reinforcement or special sedation methods to mention a few that at the end build trust with the special needs patient. The environment needs to be safe, loving and caring for the entire family.

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Different Techniques Implemented in Special Needs Dentistry

A discussion with the parents or guardian is a good place to start to understand the special needs that the child or adult may have. Once a baseline has been established the staff is sensitive to those issues. The patient might have a difficult time with longer appointments so that needs to be addressed. Sometimes it could be the lighting in the office or the different textures that are presented when working in the mouth.

Common care practices across all special needs patients starts with a focus on the routine and consistency. A special needs patient isn’t comfortable with surprises so Dr. Pan and the staff try to repeat certain processes that create a routine. There is an extra effort made to increase communication and to increase demonstration practices. Maybe it’s to show the child or adult someone else in braces or to show the patient the dental tool that is about to be used. Throughout the entire process there is always an awareness of good solid positive reinforcement.

A terrific example of addressing and understanding a special needs patient is if the parent or guardian thinks the child or adult can tolerate braces. Some patients, maybe those with autism or cerebral palsy, might be extra sensitive to having the wires and brackets in their mouth and might damage the appliances. They find them irritating and may play with them or manipulate them such that the goal and objective is negated.

The introduction of the Invisalign treatment program is a viable solution when it comes to special needs dentistry working in the favor of all parties. With Dr. Pan’s expertise, non-traditional digital dentistry such as Suresmile and Invisalign can significantly improve patient experience and efficiency. To begin with, Dr. Pan’s office is equipped with cone-beam CT and digital scanner necessary to capture the anatomy of our skeletal bones, teeth, roots and even the contour of our gum. After helping Dr. Pan with her diagnosis process, these records will initiate the fabrication of appliances such as palatal expander, wires and clear plastic trays that make up the program. The 3D model that is created, showing the starting point and where the teeth will end up, is also a nice tool to communicate to the special needs patient the objective in what the appliances will be doing for our teeth.

Invisalign uses a CAD/CAM system, computer aided design and computer added manufacturing, to create trays that apply the same force and pressure that braces do to move the teeth in question. The trays can be removed, or taken out the mouth, to allow better brushing of the teeth without the challenges of braces. The trays, anywhere from a total of five to 50, are changed out every week as long as the trays stay in the mouth for 20 to 22 hours a day. They have become a nice option for Dr. Pan in approaching orthodontic treatment for those special needs patients.

Special Needs Dentistry from Childhood to Adulthood

One of the major issues is taking care of the teeth. If you think getting a child to brush their teeth with braces is difficult add special needs to the equation. It takes a group or team effort to continue to encourage the child to keep the braces and brackets clean of food particles.

Don’t fool yourself. A special needs child or adult enjoys their smile as much as you or me. So, to see that smile improve is a giant step to make them feel more comfortable with themselves and how they perceive themselves around others. If your smile is the foundation or baseline for your self-esteem and self-confidence why should it be any different for a special needs patient. Their smile will change their personal interaction in their social circles just as it does yours. It will help them develop friendships and to continue to improve their interpersonal skills.

The orthodontic treatment may take a pinch longer than normal but that trust factor must remain through the process. Once the patient can see the final results that schedule of regular appointments should be maintained. Don’t waste that trust which has been established with the staff at Dr. Pan’s office. The staff enjoys seeing your child or adult as well. They reinforce the beauty of the smile and how healthy it looks. If the routine stays in place you can continue to have twice a year appointments to evaluate the teeth and gums, have x-rays taken, and to have the teeth professionally cleaned. All of this on top of the good oral hygiene habits you reinforce at home. Encourage your child or special needs adult to brush their teeth twice a day and show them how to floss well. Explain the results if they don’t maintain good care of their teeth. Take your time and exercise patience and compassion. It may take a few times but in the long run it is worth the effort for both patient and you the parent or guardian. You’ll find the special considerations for your special needs patient with the staff at Dr. Pan’s.

Meet Dr. Pan

Pan Orthodontics Philosophy

To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.

Patient Information

Our Commitment to You

We will continue to keep up with the ever growing digital technologies to improve your orthodontic experience. We also commit to always help you find the most convenient time for your visit with us.