Special Needs in Costa Mesa, CA

We’re passionate about building an inclusive pediatric dental home where all smiles are welcome. That’s why we get to know your kiddo, learn what makes them feel at ease, and tailor appointments to meet their unique needs — no matter their condition.

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Why is dentistry important for patients with special health care needs?

Dentistry is important for patients with special health care needs because oral health is important for everyone. A child with mental, developmental, or physical disabilities needs expert pediatric dental care to keep their teeth and gums healthy and free from cavities and gum disease, and other oral health issues.

 Both children and adults with special needs are more vulnerable to developing these common oral health issues, as they may have difficulty properly cleaning their teeth or seeing a dentist regularly. For this reason, dental care from Dr. Linda and Dr. Hani at Little Roots Pediatric Dentistry is critical for any child who has special needs, since it will help their mouth stay healthy as they grow. 

Our team is focused on custom treatment plans for each child. That means if your child has special health care needs, we do everything we can to tailor their care so they are comfortable, safe, and their needs are addressed.

Did you know…

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48% of patients with special needs don’t get a yearly checkup, compared to 35% of the general population.

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(714) 477-2906

Stress-Free Sedation Options

No child deserves to struggle with fear or pain during treatment. Sedation options are an effective and safe way to help your kiddo get the care they need without discomfort or anxiety.

Behavior Guidance Counseling

Sitting in the dental chair isn’t always easy! That’s why our compassionate team offers behavior guidance counseling. With our gentle directions and upbeat approach, we’ll empower your child to face challenges, overcome obstacles, and gain confidence as they learn how to take charge of their oral health.

Desensitization Appointments

Going to the dentist is a significant experience, with new faces, sounds, and expectations. To help your child adjust, we offer desensitization appointments. Through a series of visits, the dentist will give your child a tour of our office, introduce our friendly team, and teach them about dental tools. This helps your kiddo get acclimated with our space so they can feel safe, secure, and cared for.

Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist

A pediatric dentist completes an additional 2 year graduate program in pediatric dentistry after dental school. To become board certified, they also complete an official certification process through the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This process involves both a written and oral exam. Once a doctor is board certified, they renew their certification annually to maintain their status.

Payment Options For Every Budget
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Healthcare Financing Options
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Membership Plans Available
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Insurance-Friendly Office

Complimentary Meet & Greets

Overcoming the fear of going to the dentist can be a challenge. That’s why we encourage parents to bring their little ones for a tour of the office and to meet the team. Their dentist will “count their teeth” and show them how cool going to the dentist can be, so they can get excited about their oral health!

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The Benefits of Pediatric Dentistry for Children with Special Health Care Needs

Better Patient Accommodations

Your child’s dentist can do things like adjust office lighting and sound for patients with sensory issues, use special equipment to treat patients, and provide additional staff to ensure that special needs patients get the personalized care they need.

Expert Care For Every Patient

Pediatric dentists know how to treat patients with a wide variety of physical, mental, and developmental impairments. Your child’s dentist will know how to keep them safe and comfortable as they get the dental care they need.

Comfort With Sedation

A wide variety of sedation options are available, which allow their patients to rest, relax, and even sleep soundly through their appointment. Sedation is a very useful tool for patients who may otherwise have trouble being treated in a traditional dental environment.

The Special Needs Dentistry Process

Initial Health Discussion

To begin, your pediatric dentist will meet with you and your child, and review their medical history, records, medications they're taking, and other details. Every patient is different, so it’s important for their dentist to develop a full understanding of their health and special healthcare needs.

Oral Exam & Teeth Cleaning

The first step toward better oral health is a comprehensive oral exam and teeth cleaning. This gives our team the opportunity to learn more about your child’s health, identify potential oral health concerns, and understand the next steps for a healthier mouth.

Personalized Treatment Plan

After their consultation, your child’s dentist will discuss their oral health with you. They will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan, including both any necessary in-office care and recommendations for at-home oral hygiene.

Before & Afters

A smile is worth 1,000 words.

See real patient success stories.

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out these frequently asked questions, or call us to speak with our team.

How can medication affect my child’s oral health?

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Several kid-friendly, liquid medicines contain a syrup base with added sugar so children will actually take the medication and benefit from its effects. However, these sugars can cause cavities if they’re not properly rinsed or brushed away after use.

Other medications can cause a reduction in saliva, or dry mouth. And since saliva helps clear away food particles, sugars and bacteria from the mouth, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or infection. It’s important that you share a list of medications your child uses, so our team can provide oral care recommendations that work around your child’s medical needs.

How should I brush my child’s teeth if they have special health care needs?

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Sometimes children with physical, emotional, behavioral, intellectual or communication disabilities may find it difficult to properly brush their own teeth. They may not possess the fine motor skills needed, and will need your help to maintain good oral health. Here are a few tips to help you brush your child’s teeth:

  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles that’s made for children. Your child may be more interested in brushing if the toothbrush has their favorite character on the handle or if it’s their favorite color.
  • Use oral hygiene aids, like brushes with larger handles. If your child has trouble holding their toothbrush, try fastening the toothbrush with a string, strap or your own hand and guiding them on the right technique.
  • Pick a fluoride toothpaste that your child likes. They come in many different flavors and colors, so you should be able to find one that they enjoy.
  • Monitor the amount of toothpaste used. You should apply the toothpaste to the brush, so they don’t use too much, and monitor your child as they brush, so they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  • Make it fun! Sing songs, count, or say the alphabet while your child brushes so they get a sense of how long they should brush, and stay entertained while brushing.

Which conditions fall under special health care needs?

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Conditions that may affect your child’s dental care include:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cleft Lip & Palate
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Down Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

When you call to inquire about an appointment, let our team know your child’s condition and needs, and we’ll work together to determine if our practice is the right fit for your family.

Why might my child’s medical condition affect their oral health?

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Your child’s oral health may be affected by therapies or medications that have been used to treat their condition. The condition itself may also affect how the teeth and oral structures grow, how much calcium is in the body (affecting tooth enamel), how much saliva your child produces (saliva helps clear away food particles), and your child’s diet.

Nutrition plays a critical role, not only in the health of our bodies, but in the health of our teeth. Even your child’s ability to chew solid foods will affect their dental health, as the pressure of chewing creates stimulation in the jaw bone and the friction helps clear away tartar and plaque build up.

Meet the Doctors - Dr. Linda and Dr. Hani

Expert Care, Compassionate Approach

Your Child’s Smile Deserves the Best

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