Clinic for Patients With Special Needs to Open in Phoenix

Dentistry Today


Though there are more than 52 million people with disabilities in the United States, only 10% of dental professionals are prepared to treat patients with special needs, according to the Pacific Dental Services Foundation. To provide oral healthcare to this population, the organization will open the 2,400-square-foot Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dentists for Special Needs clinic in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday, March 25. 

“As a parent of a child with special needs, I understand the stress and anxiety that comes with going to doctors’ visits,” said Jacob Dent, DDS, who will serve as the clinic’s practicing dentist. A clinician with more than 15 years of experience, Dent also is the clinical director of Special Olympics Texas and Special Olympics Louisiana. He is the founder of a special needs clinic in Sugarland, Texas, as well.

“Together, we will work to create an individual plan that best fits each patient’s needs and we will help everyone reach their goals, both at home and at the dental office. I treat all of my patients and their parents/caregivers with the same compassion and understanding as I do with my own family. I look forward to seeing the positive changes we can make together,” Dent said. 

The foundation notes that most dentists who are unwilling to treat patients with developmental disabilities say it’s because of the way many of these patients react to dentistry. The clinic’s staff, however, will have special training in behavioral and environmental techniques to ensure successful visits. The clinic also will offer modern technology and integrated specialties to provide exams, emergency care, crowns, fillings, hygiene, implants, root canals, extractions, and oral surgery. 

Additional features will include: 

  • Five fully sensory integrated operatories
  • A clinical culture customized to the special needs patient population
  • Customized scheduling to accommodate patients
  • Digital X-rays
  • Sensory-friendly techniques for treating patients without sedation
  • A sensory room
  • Televisions in the operatories
  • Wheelchair-friendly space
  • Medical immobilization and protective stabilization 

Noting the lack of dental professionals with special needs training, the Foundation has said that it is open to partnering with universities to help students complete their residencies and gain experience in treating this population. Plus, the clinic will help patients and their caregivers make proper oral health achievable between visits by educating them about the best practices for home care.

“In addition, building a foundation of long-term self-help skills for each patient will be one of our main priorities. We will take a collaborative approach to each individual’s dental health that includes the families and caregivers, as well as the medical and therapy teams who work with them,” Dent said. “Together, we can achieve more.”

For more about the clinic, see

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