My parents recently passed away in a car accident. That puts me in the care of my brother. He’s 25, with special needs. After moving him to our house and going through my parent’s notes about his care, I realized he hadn’t been to the dentist in many years. Much of that is likely because he has issues with other people touching him. Sometimes he’s fine and sometimes he’s a nightmare. I love my brother. I don’t want to upset him, but I feel strongly he’ll need his teeth tended to. Based on how long it’s been he probably needs a lot of work. Do you know if there are dentists who are better in these type of situations than others?
Dear Catherine Anne,
First, let me give a shout out to you for the amazing way you’re stepping up even in the midst of your grief. I’m terribly sorry for the loss of your parents. You seem to be a woman with great strength of character and your brother is lucky to have you.
Though more and more dentists are gaining experience in treating special needs patients, especially with the rise of autism, most of those are children. When it comes to adults in your brother’s situation, we usually recommend you see a sedation dentist.
Advantages of Seeing a Sedation Dentist
There will be a couple of very specific advantages for your brother:
- He will be completely relaxed
This is important. Because he’s an adult, his size when he panics makes it hard to keep him safe. Not only that, but anxiety causes a person’s metabolism to burn faster. This will mean anesthetics won’t be as effective. It’s why many patients with dental anxiety have trouble getting numb when they see a dentist. A simple measure, like dental sedation, will relax him enough for his medicine to actually work as it should.
Most people are so relaxed they’re able to sleep through the whole appointment. It’s like your brother getting his oral healthcare dealt with while he naps.
- He can have more work done at each appointment
Because he’s so relaxed and likely sleeping, the dentist can accomplish more for him at each appointment. You mentioned his teeth have been neglected, so this will really help get him back in shape. You’re likely to find he’s got several things going on.
If there’s decay brewing, you want to catch it before it becomes an abscessed tooth. The last thing you want to put your brother through is an emergency dental appointment. Preventative care will be especially important for him.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington KY Dentist Dr. Weaver.