Special Needs Dentist

Nashville Special Needs Dentistry

Dental care in special needs children is extremely important to ensure that their oral health is strong. Depending on the severity of your child’s needs — physical, emotional, developmental, or behavioral – different dental treatments and procedures may be necessary to better their quality of life.

We offer 5 convenient locations, so finding special care near you is easy!

Common Oral Conditions Found & Treated in Special Needs Patients


Found often hereditarily in patients or those with developmental disabilities, malocclusion is the misalignment or crowding of teeth. This may happen when the upper and lower jaw are offset or askew (e.g. overbite, underbite, crossbite). Patients with a cleft lip or palate may also be prone to malocclusion. It is best to correct a malocclusion early on. Braces or other orthodontic appliances, teeth extractions, or surgery depending on the severity can treat a malocclusion.

Tooth Eruption

Patients with growth instability or disorders frequently have hurried or delayed tooth eruptions. Particularly children with Down syndrome may have up to 2-year delays in tooth eruptions. Genetics and other factors like jaw growth help to determine when teeth will erupt.

Dental Carries

Also referred to as tooth decay, dental carries are linked to a handful of things, such as overproduction of saliva, prolonged breast feeding, eating foods heavy in sugar, poor oral hygiene, and so on. Teaching your child proper oral hygiene or helping those with certain disabilities to floss and brush correctly is extremely important to one’s overall health. Something as simple as changing your child’s diet or prescribing sugarless medicine could prevent future dental caries.


Dysphagia is a swallowing disorder described as difficulty passing food or drink from the mouth to stomach and is usually caused by muscle and/or nerve issues. Numerous neurological disorders or patients who have experienced a stroke or brain injury may also encounter dysphagia as a symptom. It is important to eat properly and get the appropriate amount of calories. Severe cases of dysphagia may keep a person from eating enough. Treatment may include swallowing exercises, a revised diet, surgery, or medication.


Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is found in all walks of life. Some people also experience clenching of the jaw. Bruxism is commonly found in patients with cerebral palsy or acute cognitive disabilities. Many children grow out of it, while others use night guards or behavioral techniques to keep the teeth from further damage.

Early Periodontal Disease

Weakened immune systems and connective tissue disorders may welcome periodontal disease, or gum disease, early on in a child’s life. Improper oral hygiene will only make this worse, if it hasn’t already caused severe gum disease. For infection, a trip to the dentist and antibiotics may be in order. If not quickly treated, tooth loss is a risk.

Gingival Overgrowth

Most commonly, there are a handful of medications that have the side effect gingival overgrowth, which is the enlargement or increase in size of the gums. The overgrowth can range from mild to severe. If applicable to your child, it is usually seen within the first six months of starting certain medications, such as for immunosuppressant. Gingival growth can be treated with both medical (alternative medicines) and dental (rinses and regular appointments) attention.

Your Very Own Nashville Special Needs Dentist

Finding an experienced and understanding special needs pediatric dentist can make all the difference in the world for you and your child. Allow us to be your Nashville special needs dentist today! Request an appointment online or feel free to give us a call. We want to help you and your family to have the best oral hygiene – and with 5 convenient locations there is sure to be one near you! Letting your dentist know the full extent of your child’s special needs will better help your pediatric dentist understand and care for your child’s requirements.