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Tips for Implementing Special Care Dentistry into Daily Practice

Click on each episode for its description and learner objectives.

This program is an introduction to special care dentistry and essential consideration to maintain safety when providing care to dental patients with special needs.  Topics include a broad overview of individuals who present with special needs, medical consultation, systemic health and common co-morbidities, and assessment of current health status.  Risk reduction strategies to improve safety include medical consultation and collaboration, drug compatibility, fall hazards, communication, equipment and facilities, and anticipating medical emergencies.  Tips for staff training and skills and communication are shared. 

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify common co-morbidities found in patients with special needs.
  2. Discuss risk reduction strategies to maintain patient safety.
  3. Discuss the importance of a collaborative care approach to treatment.

Individuals with special needs often present with complex medical conditions.  This presentation will discuss important medical conditions frequently observed in individuals with special needs that may require treatment modifications.  The discussion will include important information to include when requesting a medical consultation and resources that are helpful to aid the dental professional’s understanding of the management of medical conditions.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify resources to aid in managing medical conditions
  2. List four primary medical considerations that may require treatment modifications when treating a patient with special needs (or special healthcare needs)
  3. Describe key elements to include in a medical consultation

This discussion will provide practical considerations for providing dental care to a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease.  Tips for scheduling and communication will be discussed.  Suggestions for treatment modifications to facilitate cooperation and successful care delivery will be shared.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Identify the best time of the day to schedule a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  2. Discuss strategies for encouraging cooperation when initiating care.
  3. Discuss treatment modifications that may be necessary for the successful delivery of dental care to a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.

This discussion will review how to look for visual cues and changes in vital signs that can be used to assess the current physical and emotional health of the patient with special needs.  Recording vital signs is an essential component of managing a dental patient with special needs, as these individuals often present with complex medical histories and/or may not be able to clearly communicate when they are in distress.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Identify, describe, and relate specific visual cues to the health status of the patient with special needs.
  2. Understand the importance of recording vital signs to determine if treatment can be administered safely to the patient during a scheduled appointment.
  3. Differentiate between normal and abnormal visual cues and vital signs in patients with special needs.

This discussion will provide practical information about how to communicate well with individuals with special needs. Strategies for setting behavioral expectations, including the use of positive reinforcement and encouragement will be discussed.  Practical tips for knowing how to read the situation and the patient’s reaction will be shared, with an emphasis on maintaining patient respect, cooperation and safety.  Assessing patient safety is a critical element to managing patients with special needs who are at high risk for medical emergencies.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Describe how to set expectations with the patient for cooperation during the dental visit.
  2. Discuss the use of positive reinforcement and encouragement for gaining cooperation.
  3. Identify safety concerns that increase risk for a medical emergency with related risk reduction strategies.

This discussion will focus on treating individuals with special needs with kindness, respect and compassion.  Emphasis will be placed on helping dental professionals learn how to read challenging practice situations without judging the patient or themselves.   Listeners will learn about how to connect with others through empathy. The joys and personal rewards of working with individuals with special needs will be highlighted.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Describe a humanistic approach to caring for individuals with special needs.
  2. Discuss how to connect with others through empathy.
  3. Discuss the personal rewards of caring for individuals with special needs.

The decision to use sedation to provide dental care to patients with special needs is based on a variety of factors that vary with the individual.  The amount and complexity of required dental work are important variables, as are behavioral and financial considerations.  This program will review how to determine when sedation is indicated, associated advantages and disadvantages, and different levels of sedation that can be used in the dental setting.

The participant will be able to:

  1. Identify the indications for sedation
  2. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of sedation
  3. Review the different levels of sedation that can be provided in an outpatient setting

This discussion will describe the necessary equipment and facilities required to safely and appropriately treat people with special needs. In addition, strategies to address financial challenges and barriers will be discussed.

Participants will be able to:

  1. List the unique equipment utilized in special care dentistry
  2. Describe the necessary facilities to treat patients with special needs
  3. Identify strategies to address financial barriers to care

“Tips for Implementing Special Care Dentistry into Daily Practice” is co-sponsored by Tribune Group GmbH. Tribune Group GmbH is a recognized ADA CERP and AGD PACE provider. At the end of the webinar, after passing the C.E. Quiz, you will be able to download your ADA CERP and AGD PACE C.E. Certificates.