At New Albany Implants, we work extra hard to make sure all of our patients can experience excellent care without the hassle. Special needs patients are especially close to our heart. Our sleep sedation method is perfect for these patients because they can get the work done without having to feel fear and stress from the process. We think that you, their caregivers, deserve the peace you’ll feel knowing that your loved one is getting fantastic care! However, who takes care of the day to day oral hygiene? Probably you! We’ve put together a list of tips to make caring for your loved one’s teeth a bit easier!
Routine Dental Care
As you know, brushing and flossing is the best way to protect teeth from decay. However, getting a special needs loved one to brush twice a day isn’t always easy! Ideally, he/she would brush on his/her own. This habit takes time to develop. If you think your loved one is capable, stand behind him/her in front of a mirror. Help him/her brush his/her teeth by holding your hand over top and gently brushing with him/her.
If your loved one refuses, that’s ok. Try to find out what is holding them back and start with maybe one or two teeth, slowly adding a little bit at a time. Maybe the brush is too hard, or too big, to be comfortable. Look for smaller brushes, and be sure to use a soft bristle brush.
A lot of times, a special needs loved one has difficulty rinsing and spitting. Start by not using as much toothpaste. A pea-sized amount is perfect. Once you’ve brushed, gently pour water into the mouth and allow your loved one to let the water flow back out of their mouth. A plastic apron really helps this process so no one is worried about a mess.
Another common problem is an unstable head. If your loved one has trouble holding his/her head still, gently hold the chin steady or even move with them to create a sort of rhythm while brushing. Don’t force your loved one to hold still if he/she is not willing as this will create more stress during dental hygiene routines.
Finally, some patients with special needs have trouble relaxing their mouth, so holding their jaw open is difficult. They will want to bite down on the brush, which hinders you from brushing. Try wrapping two chopsticks in a towel to create a bite splint. Allow your loved one to bite down on the splint, which will hold his/her mouth open enough for your to brush.
Office Dental Care
As mentioned earlier, our office is the perfect place for someone with special needs. Sleep sedation is the safest way to handle dental work for someone with special needs because it allows them to relax during the work. It will also give you a chance to relax knowing that your loved one is in good hands. Give us a call soon to set up an appointment for your loved one! We look forward to meeting with you both to set up a plan for their care.