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Special Needs Dentistry

Do you have a family member or loved one with special needs? Are you tired of calling office after office and being told that your loved one cannot be seen because of their disability? Does your loved one have behavioral issues that prevent good oral hygiene and make dentist and doctor visits more stressful and difficult? At Appletree Dentistry, we take pride in caring for individuals with special needs. Dr. Scott T. Simpson has over eight years of clinical experience providing dental care for individuals with special needs including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, and Developmental Delay. In addition, he is also able to provide dental care for individuals with cognitive, emotional, mental, sensory, physical, and developmental issues as well. Dr. Scott T. Simpson and his staff at Appletree Dentistry are trained to use a variety of behavioral techniques to serve their patients and are well-equipped and willing to provide care to all individuals with special needs.





Did You Know?

According to an article published by a University of Washington Oral Medicine Professor, one out of 2 individuals with a significant disability is not able to obtain the dental care they need.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are dental patients with special needs?

Dental patients with special needs are those who have poor oral hygiene and are at a higher risk for dental issues. They also refer to those who may require additional measures during dental appointments. Usually, the oral health of these patients is affected the presence of non-dental conditions that can make understanding or following a dental routine difficult. Dental patients with special needs can be:

  • Elderly individuals who can require more frequent dental visits due to decreased pain sensations and certain medications.
  • Individuals with mobility issues who require additional assistance attending dental appointments as well as moving in and out of the dental chair.
  • Individuals who are mentally challenged who require the attendance of a caregiver or family member
  • Individuals with complex medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bleeding disorders, or any other condition that requires possible collaboration with a general health physician.
  • Individuals with mental health conditions whose medications may cause detrimental oral health effects or who may need shorter, flexible appointment times
  • Individuals with behavioral or emotional conditions who may be resistant to change or restricted activity

Giant tooth and dental tools on a green background

What can be expected during a special needs appointment?

Sometimes, knowing what is to be expected can make a dental appointment easier, and our staff will take special care to explain everything they are doing before they do it. During most dental appointments, we allow parents or caretakers to be in the room as a source of comfort for the patient. Although each dental appointment will vary depending on a patient’s individual needs, a general dental appointment usually goes as follows.

The appointment will begin with an oral exam where Dr. Simpson will carefully evaluate the patient’s mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, and bite. Special tools such as a dental mirror, sickle probe, and light may be used to get a better look. Next, dental x-rays are usually taken by having the patient bite down on a small plastic disc. They usually only take a few minutes and will cause no discomfort.

Patients will also receive a teeth cleaning. During a teeth cleaning, our dental hygienist will use a special tool called a scaler to gently scrape off excess plaque and tartar buildup. Then, a gritty toothpaste will be brushed onto the teeth to remove the finer pieces, and the teeth will be flossed to remove any deposits from between the teeth. Finally, the patient will rinse their mouth before having a fluoride treatment. Fluoride treatment consists of an efficient application of a fluoride varnish, which forms a waxy coating over the teeth to deliver the tooth-hardening mineral right where it’s needed most.

What methods of behavior management does Appletree Dentistry use?

At times, behavior management may need to be used to ensure the safety of the patient and the dental staff. Dr. Scott T. Simpson and his staff are trained to apply gentle physical restraint. Appletree Dentistry never believes in tying down a patient to a dental chair or applying any restraint without consent.

For simply great dental care, schedule a consultation with your Tigard dentist, Dr. Scott T. Simpson of Appletree Dentistry today!

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