A child or young person (CYP) living with a variety of life-limiting, life-threatening, degenerative, congenital or acquired conditions can be considered to have special healthcare needs. This may take the form of illness or impairment from any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioural, cognitive or emotionally limiting condition that requires medical management, healthcare intervention and access to specialised services. Some may have only mild impairment to their day-to-day function, whilst others may have constellations of very complex needs from birth, or which develop over time.
It should not be presumed that all children with special healthcare needs require dental management in a secondary or tertiary care setting. Whilst this will be true for some, the majority benefit from the active preventive care which forms the mainstay of primary care.
In this chapter, some common disorders which can affect a child’s dental management are described. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but the guiding principle is that an informed approach is central to providing safe, effective dental care.
Key to this is engagement with a young person, their family and their healthcare teams to better understand their condition and to raise awareness of the benefit to their general health and well-being of maintaining good oral health.
The importance of recording a contemporary medical history at each dental visit cannot be over-emphasised, as this is likely to change as a child gets older, with subsequent implications for their dental care.
- Bleeding disorder
- Medical management
- Cerebral palsy
- Holistic care
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Devalia, U., Hood, K. (2021). Medical Conditions in Paediatric Dentistry. In: Albadri, S., Stevens, C.L. (eds) Paediatric Dentistry for the General Dental Practitioner. BDJ Clinician’s Guides. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-66372-8_8
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