Special Needs Dentistry

At the office of Brent J. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist, specializing in children’s dentistry goes beyond treating infants through teens. An integral part of the specialty of pediatric dentistry is providing comprehensive preventative oral health care to individuals with special health care needs. We appreciate the unique qualities of each person and the need to ensure the best dental health of children with developmental disabilities or special health care needs.

Special Health Care Needs

Special health care needs, as defined by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, means that a child has a physical, developmental, mental, behavioral, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires special health care management and intervention. Whether the condition is a congenital, developmental or an acquired condition, it may impose limitations and cooperation issues in performing daily self-care activities like brushing and flossing the teeth. They may be at an increased risk for oral disease which can have a damaging impact on their health and quality of life.

Common Dental Concerns in Children with Special Health Care Needs

  • They may experience delayed tooth eruption, malformed teeth, congenitally extra or missing teeth which can leave children prone to gum disease, tooth decay or may make it difficult to keep clean.
  • They may habitually grind their teeth gradually causing the enamel to break down.
  • If your child has an impaired immune system or connective tissue disorders, it can cause increased tooth decay.
  • Medications your child is taking may contain sugar or lead to dry mouth which opens the door for tooth decay.
  • Your child may have struggle with proper diet, trouble with eating, or oral sensitivity. This may make it difficult to keep the teeth clean causing a breeding ground for bacteria.

Prevention Plan

The goal of the team at Brent J. Porter, D.D.S. is to design a prevention plan for the patient’s individual needs so that potential dental problems can be avoided. This includes educating parents and health care providers with a variety of techniques and procedures modified and adapted to the unique requirements of the infant, child or teen with special health care needs. Dental care may not seem important due to your child’s medical or behavior issues, but early preventative and instructional care will establish a foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

Please contact our friendly team today if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit with Brent J. Porter D.D.S., Santa Cruz Children’s Dentist (831) 459-9802. We look forward to hearing from you