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PHOENIX, Ariz., USA: The Pacific Dental Services Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office recognizes World Autism Awareness Day (April 2) and National Autism Awareness Month. The office provides high quality oral health care for children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
ASD refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Since its launch in 2007, World Autism Awareness Day has brought increased awareness about the challenges people with autism face every day. In addition, National Autism Awareness Month is an opportunity to promote acceptance for those living with autism.
“We understand the challenges that individuals on the autism spectrum face when it comes to seeing the dentist,” said Kyle Guerin, director, PDS Foundation and Corporate Responsibility. “Dental offices tend to cause sensory overload for patients on the spectrum, with the lights, sounds and people in the room. The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office offers a warm, calming, patient-centered environment to put both our patients and their caregivers at ease. Our goal is to not only take care of our patients’ needs in the practice, but also give them the behavioral skills to continue to improve oral health outside the office.”
The Centers for Disease Control states that autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States. Overall, more than 61 million people in the U.S. have special needs. Unfortunately, many dentists are unable to treat patients with disabilities because of their lack of training, fear of the unknown and the patients’ reactions to common dental procedures.
The office offers patients sensory-integrated operatories and state-of-the-art technology, as well as specially trained dentists equipped with behavioral and environmental techniques to ensure successful patient visits. Patients receive comprehensive oral health care, including crowns, fillings, hygiene and will also be provided with emergency care if needed. In addition, the not-for-profit office, which was founded by the PDS Foundation, will provide patients and their caregivers with education to help them with their oral health in between visits.
The foundation has been leading the charge to make dentistry more accessible to people with special needs through training and advocacy programs including hosting a pediatric residency at the office from NYU Langone. Not only does the team caring for these patients require special training but most importantly they possess compassion.
The PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs clinic is part of the PDS Foundation’s mission to improve overall health by improving oral health through opportunities to serve locally, nationally and internationally.
(Source: Pacific Dental Services Foundation)