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Dental care for people with special needs

by adminjay

In some cases, the dental team prefer to use other ways of calming the patient. These can include simply talking, visiting the practice to meet staff, or even hypnosis. These can all be effective in making the patient less anxious.

It is important to visit the dental team regularly. This would normally be every six months, but some people need to visit less often and others more often. The dental team will be able to tell you.

The dentist may also recommend appointments with a dental hygienist, who will remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and offer advice on how to brush effectively and keep your mouth clean and healthy. The dental team may also offer advice to care givers about the dental care of others. It is very important to build a relationship between the dental team, the patient and their care giver. This can help greatly with people who have severe learning difficulties. Short but regular appointments seem to work better at building trust between the patient and the dental team than long appointments at irregular intervals.

What toothpaste should be used?

It is recommended that children up to three years old use a toothpaste that contains at least 1000ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. Over the age of three, a toothpaste that contains 1350 to 1500ppm of fluoride is recommended. If the dentist thinks that the patient is particularly at risk of tooth decay, they may prescribe a toothpaste or fluoride varnish which contains a higher level of fluoride to offer more protection.

What treatment might I have to pay for? 

Special treatment may be available under the National Health Service (NHS) or might have to be paid for privately, depending on the practice. It is important to ask for an after treatment plan check-up and an estimate of charges at the time of the check-up. This will avoid confusion over payment later. NHS treatment is free for people getting benefits. If the patient is on a very low income, but does not claim any benefits, they may get help with charges by filling in an HC1 form. You can get this from either the dental practice or a doctor’s surgery. You may also be able to get help towards eye tests among other things.

The Community Dental Service will provide most treatment for free. However, there will be a charge for any private treatment carried out. In some cases treatment needing laboratory work, such as dentures, bridges and crowns, will also be charged for.

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Need more advice?

If you need free and impartial advice about your oral health, contact our Dental Helpline by email or call 01788 539780 (local rate call in the UK).

Our Dental Helpline is completely confidential and has helped almost 400,000 people since opening over 20 years ago. Contact our experts by telephone, email or online enquiry, Monday to Friday, 09:00 – 17:00.

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