Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Patients with Disabilities are at Higher Risks for Dental Problems

Special Needs Patients Need Special Attention

Keeping up with good oral hygiene can sometimes seem difficult as Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman suggest eating balanced meals, reducing the number of snacks eaten, and correctly using the various dental aids that help control the plaque and bacteria for their patients here in Denver, CO.  However, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association, individuals with developmental disabilities encounter increased problems due to physical, cognitive, and financial challenges.

The study was led by the associate professor in the Department of public Health and Community Service at Tufts University, Dr. John Morgan.  He, along with other researchers, gathered their information from an electronic database containing 4,732 adults with developmental disabilities who were seen at Tufts Dental Facilities Serving Persons with Special Needs.  This are dental clinics supported by the state as there is a small about of dentists who are specifically trained to better help care for those with special needs.

The Tufts University states that dental issues can cause pain, difficulty eating, and infections that can cause more serious and long-term problems, Periodontal Associates agrees!  This is alarming as 32.2 percent of the patients from the database had untreated cavities compared to 22.7 percent of the general population.  80.3 percent of those with disabilities had gum disease compared to 47.36 percent of the population, and 10.9 percent actually lost some of their teeth, compared to 7.6 percent.

By evaluating the two groups, it can be concluded that those with disabilities seem to have more troubles managing their oral health than the general population.  Dr. Morgan says this could be due to the inability to hold onto a toothbrush with a normal sized handle, they may not understand how to brush their teeth or how often, may need continuous reinforcement to flossing, or they simply cannot afford dental care.

Finances seem to be the most common factor in poor dental health as special needs patients often need a dentist who can be sensitive to their needs, as well as, be specially trained to give better care.

“You just have to be able to tailor the dental care to meet their needs and what the patient can withstand,” said Dr. Jason Grinter, director of special patient care at Illinois Masonic Dental Center.  “It really takes formal training in combination with your own energy and how much you want to take into.”

Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, and Dr. Beckman understand how important it is to get to know their patient.  We make it a priority to get to know the patient’s medical history, communicate about the treatment, and educate them in order to make them feel as comfortable as possible while still giving the best care as possible.  Dr. Grinter is in agreement as he added, the extra time and effort pays off by not only improving the patient’s oral health but also reducing the pain and some of the behavior problems that necessitate medication.  

Dental care visits can be intimidating to most people, but do not let the fear prevent you from keeping up with your health or a friend or family member who has special needs.  Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman, along with our entire dental team, are dedicated to the gentle, personalized care that you deserve.  When you visit our Denver - Aurora, CO office, your dental implant and/or periodontal health and comfort is our top priority.  Please call us at (303) 755-4500 to schedule an appointment, click here for an appointment, or give our website some exploring to see how we are the best fit for your dental needs.  We are located in the Denver, CO area, and our patients come from near and far to see our Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman.  We cannot wait to meet you and help promote a happier, healthier you!

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