Special Needs Dentistry—Towson, MD

We Make It Work for Every Smile

Mother holding smiling child after preventive dentistry visit

If you’re a parent with a child who has an intellectual or physical disability, then you already have a lot on your plate. When it comes to their oral healthcare, however, you’re never alone. Dr. Roxanne Clarke is a pediatric dentist in Towson who is more than ready to help thanks to her years of experience, gentle demeanor, and excellent team. 

The Unique Dental Challenges for Children with Special Needs

young boy with Down Syndrome with parents

Several studies over the years have shown that children with special needs tend to experience much higher rates of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss compared to the general population, and several factors can explain this.

Firstly, daily at-home oral hygiene can be extremely difficult due to physical or mental limitations, and this removes the primary defender against oral disease. Bite (or occlusion) problems are also more prevalent, meaning issues like crooked teeth and overbite, underbite, and crossbite are more common. This can lead to teeth grinding and accelerated wear, and it can also contribute to TMJ (jaw and facial pain).

Maintaining a consistent routine is very important for children with these challenges, so bringing them to an unfamiliar dentist (particularly one that doesn’t have the training to accommodate them) can end up being a stressful experience that does more harm than good. But of course, you probably know this already, so Dr. Clarke is more than eager to change the way you and your child view dentistry.

How We Help Patients with Special Needs Feel Comfortable

young boy in wheelchair smiling

As part of her advanced training in pediatric dentistry, Dr. Clarke learned how to negotiate the special challenges that come with treating children with special needs. She understands that she has to go at the child’s pace and will never rush. The rest of our team understands this as well.

For those with sensory sensitivities, we can adjust the lighting, soundscape, and even the smell of our office to make them more comfortable.

In addition to offering a wide variety of services that can address and even prevent most dental issues, our practice is also able to provide sedation dentistry. Nitrous oxide is safe, gentle, fast, and perfect for routine procedures. If a child needs a more complicated treatment, we also work with a local hospital and anesthesiologist that can allow a child to literally sleep through the entire experience.

Dental Tips for Our Patients with Special Needs

young boy in wheelchair reading from tablet
  • Try different toothbrush and toothpaste combinations to find what your child likes to make daily brushing easier.
  • If possible, brush with your child to turn it into a family activity and ensure they are using the right technique and going for long enough.
  • If regular string floss doesn’t work, handheld flossers and water flossers are great alternatives.
  • When scheduling an appointment at Kids Dental Space, please call ahead so we can figure out how to make the experience as positive as possible for your child.
  • Have your child bring a comfort item to their visit, like a blanket or stuffed toy.
  • Ahead of their appointment, read children’s dental books to them so they have a better idea of what to expect (we can make a few suggestions).
  • During your child’s initial visit, we will most likely not perform any treatment. This “happy visit” will enable them to become familiar with our office and meet Dr. Clarke and our team, which will make following appointments go much smoother.