Caregiver Information

This page was created to provide tips and tricks for caregivers and patients. YOU are the most important members of the oral health care team. We need YOU on board and we need YOU to be dedicated to improving oral health for yourself and/or that important person in your life.  We hope we can help you achieve your oral health goals. 

Featured Idaho Practices
  • Family Health Services Advanced Delivery Dental Clinic. (Opening in May). Family Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center. While people who have special healthcare needs are welcomed at all FHS clinics, the Advanced Delivery Dental Clinic was custom created for patients who have special healthcare needs.  Dr. Brooke Fukuoka (yep same Dr. Brooke as Your Special Smiles PLLC) has particular interest in working with people who have disabilities.  This clinic also has a wheelchair lift/bariatric chair!

    • 114 Pioneer Ct. Jerome, ID. 

    • 208-737-6778 Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 8:30am-6:00pm

  • Terry Reilly Health Services. Terry Reilly Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Western Idaho. While people who have special healthcare needs are welcomed at all Terry Reilly clinics, Dr. Melinda Jensen in their Nampa clinic has a particular interest in working with people who have disabilities.  This clinic also has a wheelchair lift/bariatric chair!

    • 11136 Moss Lane, Nampa, ID​

    • 208-466-0515

  • Private Practice Dentists (NEW):  We have enjoyed working with multiple excellent private practice dentists who treat patients who have special healthcare needs with and/or without sedation. Light and moderate sedation when possible is a better option than general anesthesia. This list is NOT a comprehensive list, but rather a short list of providers who have requested to be put on this list because they enjoy treating patients who have special healthcare needs.  Being on this list does NOT mean the provider accepts Idaho Smiles (Medicaid) or any other type of dental benefits plans as payment. 

    • Dr. Travis Shepherd at Infinity Dental

      • 901 Center St W Ste. A, Kimberly, ID 8334

      • (208) 423-5001

      • Offers comprehensive dentistry. They offer limited in-office sedation for healthy adult patients who have disabilities. They offer more services than we do such as crowns and root canals. 

      • Not a Medicaid Provider

    • Dr. Thomas Patterson at Smart Mouth Dental

      • 236 River Vista Pl Suite 100, Twin Falls, ID 83301​

      • (208) 737-5253

      • Offers comprehensive dentistry. They offer limited in-office sedation for healthy adult patients. They also combine virtual reality with nitrous, or utilize virtual reality alone for a unique and innovative experience. 

      • Medicaid Provider Status - Not confirmed

    • If you are a private practice dentist who enjoys working with patients who have special healthcare needs, you are accepting new patients,  and want to be listed here contact Dr. Brooke and we would be happy to add you to our list.  This is a new list and we know there are many more dentists out there we need to add. Contact us to be added!​​

Top 5 Tips for a Successful Dental Visit
  1. Approach the Visit With a Positive Attitude 

    • Dentistry can be fun, or at least not too bad. It all starts with attitude.

      • Why is it that on an airline if your seat leans all the way back it is the life of luxury, but at the dentist office the same recline feels so uncomfortable? The answer isn't expensive luxury seats on the plane... trust me... those dentist chairs cost a lot. The answer is mostly attitude. 

      • Another examples is the "Speak Out" game  from Hasbro. In this game, players literally use dental mouth retractors and try to pronounce various words. Everyone laughs and has a great time. Why does the same device in the dentist office seem so uncomfortable?  (In case you were wondering, yes... we dental professionals are great at this game.)​

    • Fear and dislike is contagious ​​

      • If you are afraid, or just don't like the dentist, please don't spread those ideas to your loved one, especially if they have a disability. Give them them the opportunity to have their own experience and form their own opinions. ​

      • If necessary, have someone else who does enjoy the dentist accompany your loved one to the dentist. Positivity is also contagious. (Make sure you talk to the dentist ahead of time to let them know this person is going to be acting in your place and let the dentist know the extent to which this person can help with healthcare decisions). 

  2. Talk openly with the dentist about your/your loved one's needs​​

    • Being prepared is important. If you give the dentist an opportunity to prepare by calling and talking about your or your loved one's unique needs you will be more likely to have a successful visit. There are many resources available to help us dentists feel more comfortable treating people who have disabilities. Give us a chance to use those resources before the visit. ​

    • A copy of your or your loved one's medical history can be very valuable for your dentist. Not only will this help them have open communication with your medical doctor, it also generally will provide a list of diagnosis and medications to help the dentist prepare for your/your loved one's visit.

    • Any behavioral techniques that work at home, may also work at the dentist. Feel free to share tips and trick for success with your dentist. We value your input. We are experts in dentistry, you are the expert on you/your loved one. Working together, we can increase success. 

  3. Practice Skills ​

    • In the comfort of your own home, work on brushing, counting teeth with the other end of the toothbrush and even using a mouth mirror. Practice sitting with your loved one's head in your lap so they get use to people looking at their teeth from that position.  Triple Bristle has a kit designed by Dr. Jacob Dent called the Brush and Bite Kit that can help people become familiar with things they may encounter in the dental office. You can also ask your dentist if there are some things you can use at home to prepare.  Practice opening and holding the mouth open for 5 seconds, then move on to 10, then 20 and so on. Make it a game... because games are fun. ​

  4. Be Patient​

    • Patience is the key to success. We are all part of the same team. Maybe it will take the dentist a few visits to figure out how to best interact with you or your loved one. Maybe you or your loved one will take a few visits to figure out how to interact with the dentist. If both parties are patient with each other we are more likely to find success. ​

  5. Celebrate the Small Stuff​

    • Everyone likes to feel accomplished, and nobody likes to feel defeated. Even if there is only one successful part of the visit, focus on that. Make sure that the positive is appreciated. That goes both ways.  Sometimes we dentist feel defeated too. ​

Short Videos from some of our Friends

Our patients telling you how they find joy in their dental visits. We just love them! 

Advice from families and caregivers from various areas across the nation. We may be from different areas and different practices, but we all have the same goal!

More advice from patients and families. Some of this repeats, but it never gets old!

Courses For Caregivers 
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This session of the Achieving Optimal Oral Health series is focused on working with caregivers, families and patients to improve oral health. Patients with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, medical complexities, and advanced age should all have equitable access to oral disease prevention and care. The speakers will review how to overcome barriers to oral health and hygiene at home for caregivers and they will share adaptive products they use to help promote independence. Speakers will provide tips on how to increase the likeliness of a successful dental office visit and highlight the value of teamwork among : the dental team, patients, parents, and caregivers. Click the picture to register for this for free. 

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