Special Needs Dentistry

Special needs dentistry patient

When you have a special needs child who is 38 years old, you have heard a lot about what is NOT possible. You told me you can help and your did!

The dentists of the Blende Dental Group have served the special needs community for more than 20 years. Patients with disabilities often need care above and beyond that provided in a conventional dental office setting, which is why many dentists refer patients to us. In fact, sixty percent of our disabled patients are referred to us by other dentists.

The Blende Dental Group routinely treats patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and other physical and developmental disabilities. Treating the special needs population requires an extremely high level of skill and expertise. A dentist for disabled patients understands the many risk factors involved in administering anesthesia to this patient population and take every safety precaution. We never use papoose boards or physical restraints. Instead, care is delivered while the patient is comfortably asleep. After treatment, we partner with your local general dentist who can continue delivering routine maintenance care.

The dentists of the Blende Dental Group are longstanding and active members of the American Academy for Persons with Disabilities and continue to lecture nationally on special needs dentistry. Our genuine compassion for the person, understanding of their disability and its possible complications is the hallmark of our care.

We help those with:

In addition to patients with phobias or special needs, we treat patients with other special circumstances who also benefit from sedation or sleep dentistry, such as:

Medical Conditions
People with complex medical conditions are also likely to be taking medications that cause dry mouth, gum inflammation and even bone resorption. Due to their complex medical conditions, these high-risk patients are best treated and monitored in the safety of a hospital. Conditions include:


Some children need extensive treatment that requires sedation options or clinical skills that may be beyond the scope of the routine care provided by a pediatric dentist.


Busy executives and others who need extensive and/or complex treatment involving more than one specialist often want to have all their treatment done at one time.

Eating Disorders

People with eating disorders, especially bulimia, often have extensive enamel loss due to the corrosive nature of stomach acids.

Drug addictions

Chronic methamphetamine (crystal meth), ecstasy and crank users commonly have extensive dental problems that eat away the roots of the teeth. Rapid treatment is key for dental treatment success.


Smokers may suffer from an increased rate of plaque and tartar buildup, loss of bone within the jaw, increased risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Pulmonary insufficiency places them at risk for many forms of sedation.

Patients with Head and Neck Cancer about to have radiation or chemotherapy

It is very important that patients with head & neck cancer receive dental treatment before they undergo radiation or chemotherapy. This dental treatment can help prevent many of the extremely detrimental damaging effects of radiation/chemotherapy onto hard and soft tissue, mostly the jaws and salivary glands.

Patients about to undergo heart surgery

Patients about to undergo heart surgery, especially on valves or coronary arteries, should be evaluated to determine if they have abscesses or significant dental decay that could seed bacteria to the surgical site, increasing the risk for bacterial endocarditis.

Dry mouth (xerostomia)

Dry mouth makes teeth vulnerable to decay and periodontal disease because there is not enough saliva to wash away food and bacteria or to neutralize plaque. Dry mouth can be caused by more than 700 medications, including many of the most commonly prescribed medications such as antihistamines, diuretics, pain killers, high blood pressure drugs and antidepressants. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of older adults suffer from this condition.

Gag reflex

People who have a severe gag reflex often benefit from sedation, which can eliminate this involuntary reflex.

Allergy or intolerance to local anesthetic

Difficulty getting numb

True allergies to dental anesthetics are rare, but some people simply can’t stay numb, or worse, can’t get numb. These patients usually have miserable dental visits, despite a dentist’s best attempts. Sedation can provide a solution to both allergies and intolerances.

Position and accommodation concerns

Reclining in a traditional dental chair can be difficult, if not impossible, for some people with neck or spinal disorders. The airway can be compressed or compromised in people with wheelchair-bound disabilities, obesity or severe arthritis. These patients may need to be treated within the safety net of a hospital to protect their neck and airway.

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