Special Needs Dentistry for Patients with Cerebral Palsy

2 min readDec 18, 2020


While cerebral palsy doesn’t cause oral abnormalities or deformities, several of its symptoms often lead to oral issues. Patients with CP tend to be at a greater risk of dental problems. However, with diligence combined with regular dental checkups, your loved one can maintain healthy teeth and gums.

At the Dental Anesthesia Center in St. Louis, we specialize in special needs dentistry, helping patients of all kinds in achieving the best possible oral health.

Why Patients with CP Have a Higher Risk of Oral Health Problems

There are several contributing factors to oral health problems for patients with cerebral palsy. Many have gastrointestinal reflux and tend to reflux or vomit frequently. Increased drooling, along with some of the medications taken for CP, can increase the risk of cavities. These issues combined lead to a heightened risk.

Other problems that can also contribute to the chance of oral issues include:

  • Lack of control when using a toothbrush and floss
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Malalignment of the upper and lower teeth
  • Excessive gagging
  • Keeping food in the mouth for long periods of time
  • Gingivitis due to seizure medications
  • Lip, tongue, and cheek biting

Additional problems for cerebral palsy patients include difficulty cleaning their own teeth because their jaw muscles cannot relax sufficiently. They may have tongue and mouth sensitivity and may have a hard time holding their toothbrush.

Dental Treatment for Patients with CP

Understandably, many parents and caregivers are apprehensive about getting dental treatment for their loved one with cerebral palsy. They may fear that the visit to the dentist will be complicated or that it may go poorly.

Fortunately, our team specializes in working with a wide variety of patients, including those with cerebral palsy. Our office is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and we can accommodate patients with wheelchairs of all sizes.

We understand the unique challenges that can arise when working with patients with special needs. Our specialized training includes CPR training and training in supporting patients who experience involuntary tremors and bodily movements. We provide a calm and compassionate environment.

We are specially trained to understand patients’ unique needs who have difficulty communicating or have challenges expressing pain or discomfort.

Sedation Dentistry for Patients with Cerebral Palsy

Dr. Hoffmann and Dr. Thoms complete dental procedures for patients with special needs requiring general anesthesia or sedation. Individuals with special physical needs, such as patients with cerebral palsy, can receive comprehensive dental care safely. They can have a thorough exam that includes taking x-rays and receiving dental cleaning with general anesthesia. Our team is compassionate and here to help patients accomplish dental care they may have never had before.




The Dental Anesthesia Center :: St. Louis Sedation, Sleep, & Special Needs Dentistry :: Call 314-862-7844 #StLouis #STL #Dentist