This past weekend, April 11-13, 2019, the Special Care Dentistry Association (SCDA) held its 31st annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. Special Care Dentistry is the branch of dentistry that provides oral care services for people with physical, medical, developmental, or cognitive conditions which limit their ability to receive routine dental care. The SCDA promotes oral health and well-being for people with special needs.
The Pacific Dental Services® (PDS®) Foundation is also demonstrating its unwavering commitment to this segment of the community, creating healthier, happier smiles for people with special needs. They have spent the last few years focused on special needs advocacy and training because they know there are many barriers for patients with special needs.
Many parents of children with special needs report that finding dentists willing and capable of treating their children is almost impossible. Although there are more than 52 million people with disabilities in the United States, a mere ten percent of dental professionals are prepared to treat patients with special needs. According to research, a majority of the dentists who are unwilling to treat patients with developmental disabilities say it’s because of the way many patients react to dentistry. For this reason, high-quality dentists trained to treat patients with special needs are often difficult to find.
After years of leading the charge to make dentistry more accessible to people with special needs, the PDS Foundation has recently opened a brand new clinic: Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dentists for Special Needs. This new dental practice provides high-quality dentistry to pediatric and adult patients with special needs. Among the clinic’s leadership is Jack Dillenberg, DDS, who serves as the clinical director; and Jacob Dent, DDS, the practicing dentist.
“As a parent of a child with special needs, I understand the stress and anxiety that comes with going to doctors’ visits,” said Dr. Dent, who also serves as the clinical director of Special Olympics Texas and Special Olympics Louisiana. “Together we will create individual plans for each patient and we will help everyone reach their goals, both at home and at the dental office. I treat all of my patients and their parents/caregivers with the same compassion and understanding as I do with my own family. I look forward to seeing the positive changes we can make together.”
The team at the not-for-profit PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs clinic also helps patients and their caregivers make proper oral health achievable between visits. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the clinic has specially-trained dentists and team members equipped with behavioral and environmental techniques to ensure successful dental visits. The clinic offers patients modern technology and integrated specialties. The full range of services offered includes emergency care, crowns, fillings, hygiene, implants, root canal, and oral surgery.
Additional features of the clinic include:
- Five operatories that are fully sensory integrated
- Clinical culture customized to the special needs patient population
- Clinical team with the training and commitment to serve the at-risk special needs population
- Customized schedule to accommodate patients
- Digital X-rays
- Sensory friendly way to treat patients without the use of sedation (sedation available only when absolutely necessary)
- Sensory room
- State-of-the-art technology and quality care
- Trained staff willing to spend the extra time to serve patients
- TVs in the operatories
- Wheelchair-friendly space
Everyone is deserving of high-quality oral health care. Says Dr. Dent, who attended Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in New Orleans, “Our sensory friendly office provides patients with a relaxing environment, and our dental team provides comprehensive care that focuses on each patient’s individual needs. In addition, building a foundation of long-term self-help skills for each patient is one of our main priorities. Our collaborative approach to each individual’s dental health includes the families and caregivers, as well as the medical and therapy teams who work with them. Together we can achieve more.”
Take a firsthand look into someone’s life who has been changed by having access to PDS’ services. Meet Benjamin—one of the nearly 60 million Americans with a disability who has found it hard to obtain adequate oral care. They’re not just numbers. They’re people. Fortunately, his story has a happier ending than many.
See how the Pacific Dental Services® Foundation Dentists for Special Needs is bringing a more caring level of oral health care to people with special needs in this video:
PDS has created a unique environment that enables them to meet the specific requirements of individuals with special needs in order to make every visit as successful as possible:
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