Some dentists may be able to treat people with special needs and/or disabilities in their surgery.
However, some people may not be able to get to their dental practice because of a disability, medical condition or special need and may need extra support.
In this case, the dentist should refer the patient to a more specialised dental service.
People who may need community dental services include:
- children / young people with extensive untreated tooth decay who are particularly anxious or uncooperative
- children / young people with physical or learning disabilities or medical conditions
- children / young people referred for specific treatment
- children / young people who are "looked after" or on the "at risk register"
- adults with complex needs who have a proven difficulty in accessing or accepting care in general dental services, including adults with moderate and severe learning and physical disabilities or mental health problems
- housebound people
At your first appointment the dentist will talk to you and anyone you bring to your appointment with you about what kind of dental treatment you might need. The dentist will need to have certain information to help plan your treatment, so you will need to fill in a form giving your medical history.
The dentist will look in your mouth and take some x-ray pictures of your teeth.
You will also need to bring evidence of exemption from NHS dental charges if this applies to you, if not there will be a patient charge to pay.
It is also helpful if the dental team know about any concerns or anxieties the patient has, so that they can help to make the patient feel at ease. This information can be given by the patient's parents or care giver. However, some patients do prefer to communicate directly with the dentist.
Some patients may have other special needs: for example, the help of an interpreter or translator, or to have a guide dog. Dentists are prepared for working in these situations.