If you are physically disabled, or look after a physically disabled person, it can be challenging to organise dental care. Unfortunately dental chairs can be hard for some people to stay still in, particularly people with physical disabilities.
Here are some ways to make dental care for the disabled easier.
Call the dentist and ask about accessibility. In some cases, if you are in a wheelchair, you may need to organise assistance to get lift from your chair into the dental chair, as the room where the dental work is performed is often cramped. Letting them know about specific issues such as breathing or difficulty controlling saliva can help them schedule an experienced technician who can help make the appointment as comfortable as possible.
In some cases it may be easier to have the dental work done with the patient remains in their wheelchair, but this may require the dentist to set up in a different room without a central fixed chair.
If you or the person you care for has difficulty breathing with items in their mouth, organise a longer appointment when you have more time to break during the procedure and rest. If you are having a long procedure, supplementary oxygen by nasal tubes may be useful. Often having the chair at a high angle can help as well, as the fully supine position makes breathing more arduous.
Motor control issues
If you have motor control issues, ask the dentist to use a dental block to help hold the mouth open. Even if you can initially open your mouth as required it could get tricky to maintain your mouth in the necessary position for enough time. Having relaxing music and a support person can also help make the patient feel more relaxed, as well as helping them communicate any discomfort with the dentist (which can be challenging with a mouth block in places).
If you have sensory issues that make dental work particularly uncomfortable, the dentist can organise more anaesthetic, gas or even a twilight sedation to help you stay still through longer procedures. Having an experienced anaesthetist makes this a safe and pleasant option.
Maintaining dental care for the physically disabled is very important, as dental pain can be extremely uncomfortable. Work with resources such as Dr David Young & Associates Dental Surgeons to work out a dental hygiene routine that work within the constraints of the disability is vital to ensure that the dental work is fully supported by day-to-day life.