Why Is It So Hard to Find a Special-Needs Dentist?

Why is it so hard to find a special-needs dentist?

Patients who started dental care with a kid’s dentist likely never leave that dentist.


Because dental care resources are limited for adults with special needs.

In American dental schools, there are two primary categories students can focus in: general practice and advanced education in general dentistry.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), which is responsible for evaluating and accrediting dental education programs, set standards that graduates be able to evaluate the needs of special-needs patients.

Despite this move in the right direction, the need for special-needs dentistry is still unmet and is growing as the population of special-needs patients grows.

Dental care ranks as the third largest unmet need in the special-needs population, behind only housing and employment.

Special-needs patients are at higher risks of dental disease. The reasons for this come down to three topics: low expectations, fear of treatment, and a lack of awareness in dental care providers.

Finding a Special-Needs Dentist Issue #1: Low Expectations

People with special needs are used to running into roadblocks. Dental care is one of these. After being told so many times, “We can’t treat you because you have special needs,” doesn’t it make sense that the patient would just say, “Forget it?”

Unfortunately, neglecting dental care is not only unhealthy but can be fatal.

Issue #2: Fear of Treatment

Nobody likes going to the dentist. But think how unpleasant it can be when you have special needs: People with autism can be especially sensitive to noise, lights, tastes, and smells.

All of these sensations can be overwhelming to a special-needs patient. The fear of these sensations will often discourage special-needs patients from getting the dental care they need.

Issue #3: Lack of Awareness

Lack of awareness can describe both patients and dentists.

Dentists with a lack of awareness do not know how to properly treat special-needs patients, and also do not know of another dentist they can refer the patient to.

Patients with a lack of awareness do not know of a special-needs dentist around them.

So Where Can I Find a Special-Needs Dentist?

To find a special-needs dentist, look no further than Believe Dental. We have offices in San Antonio, Houston, and Austin. We are experienced and specialize in treating individuals with all kinds of special needs.

Together, we can ensure that no special-needs patient goes without dental care.