Tricks & Techniques for Treating Special Needs Patients

Course Handouts

FSM photo 12-'11ABSTRACT: This multi-media presentation is to inform dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants, who have an interest in treating the disabled and/or elderly patient, how the practice of dentistry can be modified to provide for the needs of these patients. This course will enable the dental team to better serve a population that desperately needs our help. Techniques for working with cognitively impaired patients will be discussed. Definitions and demographics of various types of disabilities will also be discussed.

During the discussion there will be three main areas of concern addressed. The first will be on treatment modifications for the special and geriatric patient. Both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic methods of behavior modification will be illustrated and discussed. The second area will be preventive techniques. The participants will learn how to practice and teach preventive dentistry for the disabled and geriatric patients. The third area of concern is oral habits related to the disabled and geriatric patients.








  1. Introduction:
    1. Slide/Audio Introduction
    2. Introduction and Objectives of the Course
  2. The Welcome Packet
  3. Assessing Patient Behavior
  4. Parents In/Out of the Operatory
  5. Tell-Show-Do Technique
  6. Modeling
  7. X-Ray Techniques
  8. Local Anesthesia Techniques
  9. Positive Reinforcement
  10. Physical Restraints
  11. The Rubber Dam
  12. Pre-Medications
  13. Nitrous Oxide Sedation
  14. General Anesthesia
  15. Preventive Dentistry for the Disabled
    1. Children with Disabilities
    2. At-Home Dental Care
    3. Toothbrushing
    4. Flossing
    5. Positioning the Patient
    6. Common Dental Emergencies Affecting the Disabled
    7. Checklist for Finding the Right Dental Office
    8. The Dental Visit
    9. Growth and Development
    10. Professional Dental Care
    11. Support Groups
  16. Special Patient Care:
    1. Using Portable Dental Equipment
    2. Transfer Techniques for Geriatric and Disabled Patients
    3. Oral Hygiene Techniques for the Disabled
    4. Oral Hygiene and Denture Care
    5. Some Children Need Special Care
  17. Oral Habits
    1. Thumb-sucking
    2. Finger-Sucking
    3. Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples
    4. Lip Biting
    5. Nail Biting
    6. Tongue Sucking
    7. Tongue Thrusting
    8. Mouth Breathing
    9. Ankyloglossia
    10. Bruxism
    11. Drooling
  18. Volunteer Programs for Dentists and Dental Team


GC_AmericaFred S. Margolis, D.D.S.

Dr. Fred Margolis received his B.S. and D.D.S. from The Ohio State University and his certificate in pediatric dentistry from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry.  Dr. Margolis is a Clinical Instructor at Loyola University’s Oral Health Center and an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry.    Dr. Margolis is director of the Institute for Advanced Dental Education, Ltd. and on the faculty of the University of Genoa School of Dentistry.  He was recently selected by Dentistry Today Journal as a “top clinician in continuing education for 2013.”  He has lectured internationally and  is the author of Beautiful Smiles for Special People, a course manual for working with disabled patients.  He is co-author of Pediatric Laser Dentistry, which is published by Quintessence. Dr. Margolis is in the private practice of pediatric dentistry in Highland Park, Illinois.