Special Oral Health Care

Updated at: Jan 31, 2013
Special Oral Health Care
Editorial Team
Oral Health ConditionsWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Jan 31, 2013

Special care indicates an approach to oral health management that is individualized depending on the needs of a person with multiple medical conditions or limitations that calls for more than standard oral care. Some examples of people who need special care are diabetics who are at increased risk of gum disease, a child with genetic abnormality who needs dentures, or people with arthritis who cannot hold a toothbrush. Most of the standard treatment procedures can be modified to meet the needs of a person who requires special care, however few people may need more specialized care. In specialized care preventive, diagnostic, and treatment facility are provided.


Why Do Patients Need Special Care


Patients may need special care because of

  • Their medical conditions or limitation even though they have a routine oral problem such as a routine oral care in a person with cerebral palsy becomes complicated because of the medical limitation. or
  • Because of medical and oral conditions that calls for extraordinary care such as a person with craniofacial defects, (such as cleft lip and palate) may need extensive reconstruction that involves many health specialists.

Oral health in people who need special care can often get disregarded owing to a several reasons such as a demanding disease, a disabling condition, or limited access to oral health care. Hence it becomes important that the dental and medical care of a person with specialized needs is coordinated between all members of the patient’s health care team that may include medical and dental professionals and caregivers.


Oral Conditions in Children with Special Needs


Oral Development


Tooth eruption is based on genetics, growth of the jaw, muscular action, and certain other factors. Just before the teeth appear through the gums in the mouth the gums may appear red or bluish-purple. Eruption of teeth are affected (such as delayed, accelerated, or inconsistent ) in children with growth disturbances. Tooth anomalies include discrepancy in the number, size and shape of teeth. Malocclusion indicates that the teeth of upper and lower teeth do not fit properly. Malocclusion and crowding of teeth are often seen in people with developmental disabilities and craniofacial anomalies. In people with malocclusion and crowding of teeth, proper cleaning of teeth becomes difficult. This can lead to periodontal disease and dental caries. If your child has dental abnormalities consult an orthodontist or pediatric dentist for evaluation and planning treatment during the child's growing years.


Oral Trauma


People with mental retardation, seizures, abnormal protective reflexes, or muscle incoordination are more prone to suffer from trauma to the face and mouth. After any restorative dental care the person should be monitored to avoid chewing on anesthetized areas. If your permanent tooth gets avulsed or broken, go with the tooth to a dentist immediately. It may be possible to plant the tooth in the socket and save the tooth. Consult your dentist to learn how to prevent trauma to your teeth and what needs to be done in case of trauma.




Bruxism, indicates habitual grinding of teeth. It is often seen in people with cerebral palsy or severe mental retardation. Bruxism can lead the teeth to become painful, loose, and in extreme cases the teeth may be actually ground away. Bruxism can cause injury to the adjacent bone and gum tissue, and even cause trouble in the jaw joint, such as temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ). Consult a dentist for evaluation and treatment.


Oral Infections


Dental car...


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