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Going to the dentist can be traumatic for any child or adult. For some special needs children, it can be even more so. It’s important to select a dentist that is prepared to handle your child’s special needs and can make the experience as painless as possible for you and your child. Here are some steps you can take to make sure that the experience is both pleasant for your child and non-stressful for you.

• Talk to other parents of special needs children about whom to go to. You can take advantage of other people’s research to save you time.

• Interview several potential dentists before making an appointment. Most dentists will allow you to schedule a phone interview rather than having to visit in person. You can also talk to an office manager or another staff member if the dentist is unavailable.

• Be upfront about the needs of your child and whatever limitations might apply. That way the dentist can give you an honest assessment of the services he can provide.

• Ask about the accessibility of the dental office. Some smaller offices may not be handicap accessible and getting your child’s stroller or wheelchair in can be a challenge. Rule these offices out.

• Find out about the dentist’s level of experience with special needs and with your child’s specific condition. Most new dentists have undergone training to treat special needs patients, and some seasoned dentists may have had real world experience.

• Inquire about specific equipment that might be needed to treat your child such as mouth props for those who can’t hold their mouths open and adjustable dental chairs. Some dental practices may not be equipped to comfortably accommodate your child’s special needs.

• Select a dentist that wants to treat your child and is willing to work with you to put your child at ease. Not all dentists look forward to treating special needs children, and you don’t want to select a dentist that isn’t excited about having your family as part of his practice.

Here at Morris Park Dental we are happy to treat special needs children and adults. We have a special operatory geared towards our smaller visitors, ad we are wheelchair accessible. Wherever you choose to go, however, be sure to call ahead and let the office know so that this special equipment can be accessible for your visit.

Dr. William Wolfson is one of five dentists at Morris Park Dental, which emphasizes general family dental care as well as cosmetic procedures. The office is available to provide more information at (718) 863-5077, or visit Morris Park Dental on-line at www.DRsmile.net.

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