John C. Chao, D.D.S.

Research Associate Professor, University at Buffalo, SUNY
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Ostrow School of Dentistry, USC

(626) 308-9104

Treatment Options

Special Care Dentistry

Patients who have autism or experience some other behavioral disorder like ADD or special needs patients that require dental care be delivered in ways that suit their unique circumstances.  On the other hand faithful long-standing patients are aging, taking more medications and faced with uncertain medical futures. People with disabilities are living longer lives and expect access to the same quality of care that their able bodied friends enjoy.  To continue to enjoy their trust and faith it is necessary that a dental practice have the knowledge, skill, and equipment to accommodate treatment of special needs patients.

Patients with special needs have always been welcome at Dr. Chao’s office and it is by no happenstance, treating special patients is part of our daily practice and life. These are patients with systemic diseases, issues of aging, multiple medications, behavioral issues and many other special needs related unusual circumstances. Treating patients with special needs continues to be a substantial part of our practice.

Wheelchair-bound patients are also another category of patients who need special consideration.  Up to now it has been nearly impossible to render treatment without moving the patient out of the wheelchair and into the dental chair. Dr. Chao has been vexed by the problem of having to transfer the patient from the wheelchair to the dental chair for dental treatment and again transfer the patient back to the wheelchair when work is completed. The risk of accident is heightened during the transfer while it adds to the discomfort of the patient.

Why doesn’t someone invent a special dental unit that can accommodate a wheelchair?  This way there would be no need to transfer the patient on and off the wheelchair.  Now there is such a chair.  It’s called Versatilt.  We can roll the wheelchair onto this special dental chair and then tilt the Versatilt back so that we can examine and treat the patient.  When we’re done, we tilt the chair upright and roll the wheelchair off.  Presto, the patient can leave.  No hassles.

The problem with Versatilt is that the dentist has to dedicate one operating room for wheelchair dentistry.  Typically a dentist has three – five dental operating rooms and one may be used by the hygienist.  Unless the dentist sees wheelchair–bound patients on a regular basis, it would be difficult to justify devoting an entire operatory to the Versatilt.  It is fortunate that our facility has been able to dedicate one operatory to the treatment of special needs patients.  In this room we have installed a Versatilt.

Treatment of wheelchair- bound patients is now easier and more convenient than ever before with the use of the Versatilt.  “Wheelchair dentistry” has finally arrived.

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