What to Expect
Our mission is to promote good oral health for our patients by creating a friendly and positive experience when receiving dental services. Our staff understands the unique needs of Special Needs patients and emphasizes patience and continuous positive reinforcement. The desensitization process is based upon the ‘Tell-Show-Do’ method and uses a series of appointments designed to familiarize patients with the dental surroundings and procedures. Our desensitization program provides relaxation techniques while constructing a progression of stimuli for the patient. Each step of the target goal is gradually introduced to the patient, followed by positive reinforcement which includes making one more familiar and comfortable in the dental treatment setting.
Reinforcers vary depending on what motivates each patient. They can include listening to a preferred song, watching a favorite television shows, toys, or verbal praise. We welcome therapists to accompany the patient on their first visit and tour our practice. Once the patient tolerates one step, the next one is introduced gradually until the treatment goal has been reached. This concept, known as behavior shaping, is used to plan treatment where the goal is broken down into small steps. This can be helpful in transitioning from a simple to a more complicated procedure. If a patient is unable to cooperate during treatment, the appointment is not immediately terminated as this could negatively reinforce the undesirable behavior. Back tracking, engaging the patient in a calm manner followed by positive reinforcement is ideal, so the appointment will end constructively. This can be completed, for example, with a simple fluoride treatment or exam.
Some patients require interventions that go beyond the scope of routine behavior management techniques. These techniques can include oral desensitization, therapeutic and protective stabilization and anti-anxiety medications. Therapeutic and protective stabilization (MIPS) can be helpful in patients.
General anesthesia in an ambulatory care setting should only be considered if our attempt to provide care are unsuccessful or determined necessary by the doctor. This is usually a last resort to provide necessary treatment.