Hygienist holding a set of Invisalign

Special Needs Dentistry for Cerebral Palsy By Stephen Dowell, DDS on February 15, 2018

Everyone requires some level of dental care to stay healthy and patients with special needs are no exception. Those with cerebral palsy may have difficulty controlling reflexes, coordination, and posture. This can quickly turn a routine dental visit into a dreadful experience for the patient. At the Dowell Dental Group in Minerva, OH, our doctors focus on special needs dentistry for cerebral palsy, as well as services for those with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Down syndrome, or multiple sclerosis. We strive to provide high-quality, compassionate treatments for every patient. We truly feel that special needs dentistry is something that sets our practice apart.

Cerebral Palsy and Oral Health

Patients with Cerebral Palsy are often more susceptible to dental issues. For example, it is not uncommon for a child with Cerebral Palsy to grind their teeth. These patients may also have varying sizes of teeth, misalignment, or crowding, making it difficult to brush and floss effectively. Additionally, patients with the condition are more prone to bacterial infections, meaning they are more vulnerable to gingivitis and periodontal disease. In many cases, children with Cerebral Palsy have an underbite, which means the lower teeth are positioned outside of the upper teeth. This can cause mouth breathing and difficulty chewing properly, and it can make the jaw and tongue more susceptible to trauma.

Patients with Cerebral Palsy are also more prone to tooth decay. This is due to compounding factors. For example, more plaque forms on teeth that are exposed to acid. Therefore, patients who have a tendency to drool, aspirate, or vomit, or those who experience difficulty chewing and swallowing are more vulnerable to decay. Additionally, much of the medication used in the treatment of Cerebral Palsy is sugary, which only exacerbates existing oral health concerns. As a result, more bacteria accumulate on the teeth.

For all of these reasons, it is extremely important for patients with Cerebral Palsy to receive proper and routine dental care. By removing plaque, food, debris, and other irritants from the teeth, our team can give special needs patients the best chance for optimal oral health.

How Sedation Dentistry Can Benefit Special Needs Patients

At Dowell Dental, we offer oral conscious sedation for patients with special needs. This can calm overactive reflexes and allow them to relax during their treatment. This provides a safe and comfortable environment for the patient, whether it is a complex dental procedure or a routine hygiene visit.

Advanced Technology for Unparalleled Care

Patient comfort and effective care are two of our top priorities. That is why our entire team stays u- to-date with the latest technological advances and treatment techniques. By doing so, we are able to offer minimally invasive, yet highly effective procedures for every patient.

Oral Hygiene between Visits

Routine dental examinations and cleanings are vitally important to long-term oral health. It is just as important to maintain proper oral hygiene habits at home. The primary caregiver must make sure sufficient brushing, flossing, and rinsing are being completed daily. If the use of a mouthwash is not possible, it can be helpful to sweep the mouth with a cotton swab or a gauze-wrapped finger.

Learn More about Special Needs Dentistry

Everyone deserves a comfortable dental experience. If you are interested in learning more about special needs dentistry for Cerebral Palsy, or any other medical condition, reach out to a team member. Contact us online anytime to discuss any questions or concerns, or to schedule an appointment for your loved one.


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Call 330-627-5005 or request an appointment online to set up your first visit.