The Pacific Dental Services (PDS) Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office said it recognizes National Autism Awareness Month as it provides oral healthcare for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication.
“We understand the challenges that individuals on the autism spectrum face when it comes to seeing the dentist,” said Kyle Guerin, director of the PDS Foundation and corporate responsibility.
“Dental offices tend to cause sensory overload for patients on the spectrum, with the lights, sounds, and people in the room. The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office offers a warm, calming, patient-centered environment to put both our patients and their caregivers at ease,” Guerin said.
“Our goal is to not only take care of our patients’ needs in the practice, but also give them the behavioral skills to continue to improve oral health outside the office,” Guerin said.
Autism affects approximately one in 54 children in the United States, PDS said, and more than 61 million people in the United States have special needs. Yet many dentists are unable to treat patients with disabilities because of their lack of training, fear of the unknown, and the patients’ reactions to common dental procedures, PDS said.
The office offers sensory-integrated operatories as well as specially trained dentists equipped with behavioral and environmental techniques to ensure successful patient visits, PDS said. Patients receive comprehensive oral healthcare including crowns, fillings, and hygiene and will receive emergency care if needed, PDS added.
The nonprofit office also provides education for patients and caregivers to help them with their oral health in between visits, PDS said.