Inclusive Dentistry

Special health care needs can be defined as “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity.”

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD)

At First Impressions, we value and celebrate the unique differences of our patient populations.

We believe that by providing unparalleled dental health care services to all individuals, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities, we are better able to represent and support our communities.

As part of our integral service offerings, all First Impressions staff has received advanced education and training in order to provide excellent primary and comprehensive preventative oral health care to children with special health care needs (SHCN). In agreement with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, health care for these individuals typically requires specialized knowledge, increased awareness and attention, adaptation and accommodative measures beyond what is considered routine. At First Impressions, you can rest assured that your child – regardless of need or special attention – will be well taken care of by our specialized staff.


What makes First Impressions different than other dental offices?

It starts from the time we schedule your appointment. This is an opportunity for our staff to connect with the family and fully understand the child’s unique needs, taking note of any specific accommodations including the potential for an increased length in the time of the appointment. To better assist our team in preparation of the appointment, care providers should discuss with our staff any additional health care information relevant to the patient; this includes but is not limited to a summary of the patient’s medical history, any recent hospitalizations, prescriptions or allergies, care restrictions as applicable, and a list of the patient’s other healthcare providers.


Our doctors review this information well in advance of the visit and design the best care approach, accordingly. During the visit, our staff is prepared to modify our approach at any given time based on the needs of the patient. We understand that each visit may be different from the last, and therefore we remain flexible to adapt to the needs of the patient in that specific instance.


All patient notes outlining unique care needs and best approach methods are securely documented with our staff so that subsequent visits are equally efficient and enjoyable for your child. At the end of our visit, we provide a detailed summary to both the patient and his/her caregiver, outlining any specific treatment recommendations and any significant findings as applicable.


By continuing care with our First Impressions team, you allow us to develop a strong understanding and familiarity of the patient’s medical history, and preference for effective treatment procedures, which in turns allows us to provide you with the best possible care.


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How prevalent are special health care needs in our communities?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 37.9 million Americans have a disability; the proportion of children in the U.S. with special health care needs is estimated to be 18% or approximately 12.5 million (Source: AAPD). 


Why is it so important for families with special health care needs to find a dentist they trust?

Generally speaking, patients with special health care needs often times have a greater level of anxiety about dental care than those without a disability, which often times will lead to adverse impacts on the frequency of dental visits and, subsequently, oral health (Source: AAPD). It is our goal to help ease any anxieties before, during and after your child’s visit so that this is not the case for your family. We take many measures when addressing and easing these potential anxieties – from the physical design of our office, the friendly approach of our staff, and the way in which we interact with our patients throughout the dental visit – so that you and your child both have a full understanding of expectations and outcomes with each visit.

It is shown that patients with special health care needs who find a ‘dental home’ are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine care, reducing the child’s risk of preventable dental/oral disease (source: AAPD).speci

A Kid's Colorful Guide to the Dentist

Enjoy the many pages of our Guide to the Dentist coloring book! Patients can follow along a creative explanation of what to expect during a first visit to the dentist. This free downloadable coloring book is a great tool to work through before an appointment, or a fun activity while in the waiting room.