Dental treatment of a person with intellectual disability

May have a higher incidence of poor oral hygiene, gingivitis, malocclusion and untreated caries. As the severity of intellectual diasbility increases, typical oral signs of clenching, bruxing, drooling, trauma, missing teeth and self injurious behaviours increase.  A short attention span, restlessness, hyperactivity and erratic emotional behaviour may characterize patients with intellectual disability undergoing dental care.

The following procedures have proved beneficial in establishing dentist-patient-parent-staff rapport and reducing the patient’s anxiety about dental care:

  • Give the family a brief tour of the office before attempting treatment
  • We introduce the patient and family to office staff
  • Allow the patient to bring a favorite item (Stuffed animal, blanket, or toy) to hold for visit.
  • If the child has an alternative communication system, such as a picture board or electronic device, we make it sure it is available to assist with dental explanations and instructions.
  • We reward the patient with compliments after successful completion of each procedure.
  • Actively listen to the patient.
  • We Invite the parent/ guardian into the operatory for assistance and to aid in communication.
  • We Keep appointments short. Gradually progress to difficult procedures
  • We Schedule appointment early in the day, on a lightly scheduled day, when we have good time to be spent for the child
  • By thoroughly understanding the patients degree of intellectual disability and abilities, and by exercising patience and understanding we deliver compassionate dental care.
  • When cooperation does not exist, sedation or general anesthesia may be an option.