CDA Essentials 2016 • Volume 3 • Issue 7 - page 7

7
Volume3 Issue7
|
CDA
at
W
ork
RandallCroutze,bsc,dds
I
always look forward to seeingoneofmy
patients, a frail seniorwho is visually impaired,
everyyear on January16. That day ismy
birthdayandhis too, and for thepast 30years
he’s taken thebus tomyclinicon thisday to
sayhelloandwishmehappybirthday, even if he
doesn’t haveanappointment.
Likemybirthdaybuddy, someofmypatients
haveaphysical or developmental disability, or
both. Inmyexperience, treatingpatientswho
haveadisabilitydoesnot define themas a
patient, nor represent achallenge tomeor the
membersofmy team. Throughexposure toall
kindsof people, including thosewithdisabilities,
my teamhas learned thevalueof tailoringour
approach tomeet the individual needsof each
patient. For example,we’ve found that patients
withan intellectual disability seem to respond
toour efforts tohelp them feel comfortable
by recallingapleasantmemory they’ve shared
withusduringaprevious appointment. If there
is an issuewithcommunication,we sometimes
takea littleextra time toensure that thepatient
understands the treatment to thebest of their
ability—butwe try todo that for all patients,
whether or not theyhaveadisability.
But for avarietyof reasons, some
general practitionersbelieve they
arenot capableof special care
dentistry,which isdentistryadjusted
tomeet theneedsof peoplewith
disabilities. According toa recent
report titled
Meeting theNeeds for
SpecialCareDentistry
, produced
collaborativelybyCDAand the
Associationof CanadianFaculties
ofDentistry, somedentists say they
feel unprepared to treat apatientwitha
disability.
One study
1
cited in this
report showed that
dentistswhowere
most likely to refer
childrenwithdisabilities toother dentists lacked
confidence inmanaging thesepatients; other
reasons for referringoutwere insufficient staff
training, inadequate facilities and time shortages.
All newlyqualifiedCanadiandentists shouldbe
competent inmanaging “patientsof all ages,
including thosewith special needs,” according
toaNational Dental ExaminingBoardof Canada
competenciesdocument.
2
Yet, peoplewith
disabilities sometimes struggle tofindadentist
whowill treat them; just one factor contributing
tohigher levelsof oral disease in thispatient
groupcompared to that of thegeneral public.
The issueof access tocare for peoplewith
disabilities is complex. Theyoften facenumerous
barriers, includingaffordability, physical access
todental offices, high levelsof fear andanxiety
related todental procedures, and, often, the
need for an interdisciplinaryapproach to their
dental care. But providingdental care for people
withdisabilitiesdoesnot alwayshave tobe
complexandcanbe safelyprovidedbyadental
teamwith relevant skills andcompetencies.
This issueof
CDAEssentials
includes stories from
dentists anddental teammemberswhoare
hoping tochangeattitudes about special care
dentistryby sharing strategies that haveworked
in their dental practices. It’sour professional duty
toprovidecare toallmembersof society.Wecan
dobetter for our patientswhomight needan
individualizedapproach, startingwith support,
encouragement and training for dentists so
theycan feelmoreconfident in their capacity to
providecare for peoplewithdisabilities.
References
1.SunS.,BushH.M.,HarrisonR.,PoonB.,Mathu-MujuK.R.Professional
uncertainty inprovidingdentalcare forspecialneedschildren.Graduatestudent
abstractpresentedattheCanadianAcademyofPediatricDentistry2015
Meeting.2015.
2.Competencies forabeginningdentalpractitioner inCanada[Internet].Ottawa:
TheNationalDentalExaminingBoardofCanada;2005[cited2016Sept21].
Availableat:
From thePresident
Closing theGaps in
SpecialCareDentistry
1,2,3,4,5,6 8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,...48
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