Some dentists may be able to treat people with special needs in their surgery. However, some people may not be able to get to their dental practice because of a disability or medical condition. In this case, the dentist should refer the patient to a more specialised dental service. Ask your dentist what is needed for a referral and if it is suitable in your case.
Specialised dental services are commonly provided by community dental services. Community dental services are available in a variety of places to ensure everyone can have access to dental health. These include hospitals, specialist health centres and mobile clinics, as well as home visits or visits in nursing and care homes.
Some hospitals or health centres also help people who need specialist care and may be able to offer treatment under sedation or general anaesthetic.
People who may need community dental services include:
- children with extensive untreated tooth decay who are particularly anxious or uncooperative
- children with physical or learning disabilities or medical conditions
- children referred for specific treatment
- children who are "looked after" or on the "at risk register"
- adults with complex needs who have a proven difficulty in accessing or accepting care in general dental services, including adults with moderate and severe learning and physical disabilities or mental health problems
- adults with medical conditions who need additional dental care
- housebound and homeless people
Contact NHS England on 0300 311 2233 or visit Dental treatment for people with special needs - NHS (www.nhs.uk), about the community dental care available in your area,