A Typical Visit

What to Expect and How to Prepare

Reduce Their Anxiety:

Depending on the disability of your client, you might want to schedule an appointment where you are able to take your client into the office, get accustomed to the atmosphere of the dental office, meet the dentist and the staff, and even sit in the dental chair without getting any treatment. This allows him or her to get used to the dental office so that when it is time for treatment the client will have less to stress and fear.

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Also, there are several storybooks that illustrate what a typical visit to the dentist will include. Reading this to the client before the visit, is a fun and easy way to get them acquainted to the dental office.

Lastly, bring your client’s favorite toys, stuffed animals, books, etc. In essence, anything that will make them more comfortable during their appointment. If they like music, you can even bring their music and headphones with them to help calm them during a visit.

The Medical Records:

You will be asked to fill out the medical records of your client. It is very important that you include all medications and treatments that he or she is on so be prepared. This information will help the dentist decide what forms of treatment will work best for your client. Also, make sure to discuss any fears, concerns, and medical problems with the dentist.

The Room:

For many people with disabilities, loud noise and a lot of activity will scare or anger them. For that reason, you will most likely be brought to a closed room, separate from the rest of the chairs that will be more quite and serene for your client.

The Chair:

Your client will have to sit in the dental chair. This can be the first problematic step if he or she is in a wheel chair or refuses to sit in the chair. Not to worry because the dentist is trained in handling these issues. The dentist along with his staff will help you move your client into the chair in a safe and easy manner. Once your client is in the chair, depending on if he or she moves around a lot, the dentist might ask to use a form of restraints or a type of sedation. These are used so that they dentist can easily and safely perform treatment without the patient endangering him/herself or the dental staff.  Sedation will be discussed in a separate section.

The Examination and Cleaning:

The dentist will take a look into your client’s mouth to see what type of treatment, if any, is needed. The dentist will look for cavities, any fractured or missing teeth, and gum disease.

To keep your client in the chair, as said before, restraints might be used. Do not worry because these restraints are safe and will make the dental appointment experience much better for your client as it will cause him to relax his body and hands. Other members of the dental staff might be there to help support and keep calm your client.

In addition, devices might be used to keep your client’s mouth open. The dentist will determine what types of oral hygiene need to be done and if any procedures are needed. They will also clean your client’s teeth using dental instruments or even simple toothbrushes and toothpaste to clean what that would be difficult for you.

X-rays Maybe:

With every initial visit, x-rays are usually required. X-rays are used to see all aspects of your client’s teeth in a fast and safe manner. Although x-rays are quick and painless, they do require your client to bite on small strip of paper and stay still for a few seconds. For certain disabilities, this task might be too difficult and in that case the dentist will skip taking x-rays.

The Demonstration:

The dentist will demonstrate different techniques in brushing, flossing, etc if they see that there is some areas of your oral hygiene that may need some additional tips. Make sure to ask them any questions and express all concerns so that the dentist can help you come up with the best and simplest strategy for taking care of your client’s teeth.

It Takes Time:

Depending on your client’s disability, it might take a few visits to the dentist before they are calm and comfortable. Do not be alarmed or discouraged if the first visit causes your client to cry or scream. That is completely normal and over time your client will get more used to the dental setting and the dentist. After a few visits, your client will understand or get used to the different steps of the dental visit.

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