LINCOLNSHIRE, ILLINOIS-Dental care is often an unmet need among children with special health care needs. Compared to the pediatric population as a whole, children with special health care needs are almost twice as likely to have untreated dental decay.
Affiliated Dental Specialists is a preventative dentistry practice that is designed to accommodate this type of patient, and the dentists are equipped with formal training and years of experience to do so.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines the term special health care needs as any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention or use of specialized services or programs.
“Even though there are obstacles to getting dental care for someone with special health care needs, it is very important to their overall health,” says Dr. Cameron Wagner. “Untreated dental disease can cause lifelong oral health problems and exacerbate systemic health issues.”
He works with other pediatric dentists at the dental group, as well as an orthodontist. Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills and Gurnee residents come to them with special needs, and together the patients’ caregivers and the dentists formulate a treatment plan taking into account medical conditions.
What makes a pediatric dental practice an ideal dental home for this demographic is that the dentists must complete an additional two-year residency program, including training in treating patients with special health care needs.
“We are used to working with patients that have anxieties or aversions to dental care or medical conditions that require customized treatment plans,” says Dr. David Maddox, who works at the practice that also offers adult and child orthodontics.
The biggest resource that must be tapped is the knowledge caregivers and other medical professionals have about the patient, according to Dr. James Orbon, who works with an Invisalign provider. There must be clear communication about medical conditions, medications, allergies and behaviors that will require accommodation before dental treatment commences.
To allay anxieties and build trust with the patient, the dentists encourage the use of consistency and routine, such as scheduling appointments at the same time each visit, using the same chair and assigning the same staff. Giving a child time to adjust to the different smells, sights, sounds and sensations of the dental office is very important.
“Knowing what is about to happen and how it may feel is also extremely helpful,” says Maddox. This means explaining the procedure and showing them on a model what is about to happen before actually doing it. Wagner lets the patient handle a similar instrument and slowly introduces tools that make noise or may cause vibrating sensations in the oral cavity to ease patients into the procedure.
When possible, early intervention, including a dental visit by age one, establishes dental care and procedures as part of the routine. It also helps prevent dental disease from becoming one more special health care need for a family to address.
“Planning, consideration and patience are all that is needed to provide dental and oral care for children with special health care needs,” says Orbon. “Our goal is to give every patient we treat respect and a healthy, bright smile that lasts for a lifetime.”
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the office at (847) 263-1801 or visit the website at www.affiliateddentalspecialists.com/.
About Affiliated Dental Specialists
Affiliated Dental Specialists, Ltd., is a unique dental group practice, providing in the same location, orthodontic treatment for all ages and pediatric dentistry for infants, adolescents and teens, as well as the special needs population. Dr. Richard Port and Dr. Gary Klein are experts in orthodontics, and Drs. James Orbon, David Maddox and Cameron Wagner are pediatric dentistry specialists.
Address: 1 E. Phillip Rd #102 Vernon Hills, IL 60061 Phone: (847) 367-6055.
Address: 36100 N. Brookside Dr #207 Gurnee, IL 60031 Phone: (847) 263-1801.
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