Sedation Dentistry for People Who Have Special Needs

Good oral hygiene, including regular visits to the dentist, is important for everyone. Unfortunately, some people who have special needs cannot sit still for the dentist. For this reason, many professionals are turning to the use of sedation dentistry to allow special needs patients to get the same quality care as those who do not have difficulty at the dentist.


A wide range of people may require the assistance of sedation during dental procedures. People who are on the autism spectrum, have Down Syndrome, attention deficit disorder or another disorder that inhibits their ability to sit still for long periods of time usually receive sedation when going to the dentist. Some physical disorders also require sedation. People who have cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease or epilepsy may have tremors that prevent the doctor from working. Sedation can calm the tremors and allow for better care. Finally, some people have an extremely sensitive gag reflex or dental phobia and require sedation to prevent complications during the appointment.


Several methods of sedation are available with the choice depending on the type of special needs a patient has. Someone who has slight tremors or a minimal fear of the dentist may need a simple nitrous oxide to help them relax. One of the most common types of sedation is oral. The patient ingests a pill that puts him or her to sleep during the procedure, but allows for easy waking with a gentle shake. Some doctors prefer to use IV sedation because it allows them to adjust the level of sedation as needed. For patients with the most severe special needs, general anesthesia is available. Anesthesia leaves the patient unconscious during the procedure. He or she must wait until the medication wears off before leaving the appointment.


Drs. Kyle and Larry Duffy are dentists who use sedation dentistry methods for special needs patients. You can learn more about our services by calling our office.


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