Sensory-Friendly Dentists: More Than Autistic Patients

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You make think sensory-friendly is just for dentists for adults with autism or autistic children.  However, many more people seek out dentists who manage the sensory-rich experience of dental care.  Although pediatric dentists and dentists for autistic adults and children should offer a sensory-friendly dental appointment too.

Peggy Bown Dentistry:  a sensory-friendly dentist, an autism-friendly dentist, and a patient-friendly dental practice.

Peggy Bown Dentistry is a premier example of a sensory-friendly dental practice.    They are the first sensory-friendly dentists in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.  With a large staff and clinic, the take special care throughout to focus on patient experience.  They do so in all aspects of dental care.  And throughout their space.  Dr. Bown even met with me when she was designing her dental clinic.  We talked through many facets to make the building and the patient experience accessible and enjoyable.  She brought in a multitude of experts to design the space.  And she continues to research and implement best practices.
In this blog post, you will learn what to expect from sensory-friendly dental care as a patient.  Furthermore, there will also be information for dentists to help them become sensory-friendly.    There is a photobook below to scroll through the clinic.

Sensory-friendly dentists: adjust for the eight senses!

Note that adjusting and adapting the sensory-experience for the eight senses in dental care will also support autism-friendly dental practices.   It isn’t just children with autism who struggle with dental care, dentists for adults with autism are needed too.  Furthermore, it will support dental treatment for people with special needs.  Many people have sensory sensitivity.   People of all ages experience sensory overload.

 

See

Dr. Bown provides special tinted glasses for patients to wear.  They also have special light covers on overhead fixtures.  Sensory-friendly is not just for patients.  Lighting throughout is adjustable.  They take full advantage of daylight too.
They have taken special care to achieve the right balance of something engaging to look at and not too much visual distraction.  Ceiling mounted screens are available for patients to watch.  Walls have interesting artwork.

Icon of ear.

Hear

Peggy Bown Dentistry has noise-canceling headphones that patients can wear while in the chair to listen to music.  Or earmuffs to block out sound. The rooms are also designed with sliding doors to dampen sound between treatment rooms.

Icon of mouth smiling with tongue out.

Taste

The clinic has warm, filtered water for its patients during treatment.  How thoughtful is that?  And a choice of flavors for treatments too.

Icon of hand with finger pointing.

Touch

Even though the clinic uses modern dental practices with avant-garde tools and equipment to make dental care quick, painless and the least invasive possible.  There are little details that also speak to their attention to the tactile sense.  For example, in the waiting area, they have different types of seating.  Individual armchairs.  Beanbag chairs for children.  Bench seating too.

Moreover, they offer weighted blankets.  Weight has a calming effect.  At the end of each treatment, you can have a warm, damp cloth for your face and hands.

Icon of nose.

Smell

Dr. Bown has a special air purifier installed.  She also offers individual calming scents for patients during treatment.  Purified, filtered air is helpful for people who like scent-free.  Essential oils can be calming for people who like scents.

Icon of figure running.

Movement

Bown Dentistry Clinic has full adjustable patient chairs for optimal comfort.  They offer knee pillows or leg elevation pillows to reduce back strain too. The team also pays close attention to its ergonomics.  Dental staff can easily sustain awkward postures and have repeated movements in proffering dental care.  Healthy staff provides better health care to patients!

Icon of figure balancing on one foot.

Balance

Dr. Bown chose to create her clinic in a flat building that is wheelchair accessible.  I love the little stool they provide at the entrance where outdoor boots and shoes are removed.  In addition, their long-handled shoehorn is a must at any entrance!  The patient chairs/lounges are height adjustable, making it easy for patients to get up and down from them.

 

 

 

Interoception

Irteroception is your internal body sense.  It tells you when you are hungry, thirsty or have to go to the bathroom.  The clinic has filtered water to drink for patients too!  There is a patient bathroom near the front of the clinic, that is wheelchair accessible.
Dr. Bown has also created a warm, inviting multi-purpose room for her team.  Moreover, all aspects of the comfort of her team are just as important as the patient care they provide.  I hope this example of a sensory-friendly dental practice, Dr. Peggy Bown Dentistry, illustrates a dentist for adults with autism and dentists for anyone who wants or needs a sensory-wonderful experience.

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