Special Needs Patients


At Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates, we are dedicated to providing quality dental care to children, regardless of their physical and mental capabilities. We understand that some kids might have special needs involved with autism, developmental disorders, sensory issues, or other physical and behavioral impairments. Dr. Caldwell has comprehensive training in special needs pediatric dentistry, and has been treating patients with special needs since 1979. He has instilled his staff with the same care techniques to ensure that every one of our patients has a positive experience at our Sugar Land or Wharton, TX office.

Dental Exams & Treatment

To begin treatment, your child will be given a comprehensive examination to determine his or her specific dental needs. If you would like to be a part of the process by holding your child’s hand and comforting him or her during the exam, you are welcome to do so. But rest assured that your child is in good hands with Dr. Caldwell. His special training in special needs pediatric dentistry makes him well equipped to guide your child through this exam calmly and comfortably. And should X-rays need to be taken during the exam, our skilled staff is fully trained to show your child the same level of accommodation.

In most circumstances sedation is not needed during a special needs pediatric dentistry exam. If sedation is required for the exam or treatment, there are several types to choose from depending on your child’s specific special needs:

  • Local Anesthesia
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Oral Conscious Sedation
  • Intravenous Sedation
  • Or a Referral for General Anesthesia

If you wish to go into greater detail about these different types of sedation, or have any questions about the exam and treatment processes, please feel free to reach out to our Sugar Land and Wharton, TX practice at (281) 565-5437.

Oral Care for Special Needs Patients

In addition to visiting a pediatric dentist, regular brushing and flossing are important parts of keeping your child’s smile healthy and beautiful. Brushing removes food particles and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. Meanwhile, flossing removes food and plaque from between the teeth and under the gum line.

Tips for Brushing & Flossing

  • Our children’s dentist recommends using a toothbrush with soft rounded bristles, as that is less likely to irritate gum tissue.
  • You can enlarge the toothbrush handle with a sponge, rubber ball, or bicycle handle grip. Additionally, you can lengthen the toothbrush with a ruler or wooden tongue depressor. Using an electric toothbrush may also be helpful, as this kind of toothbrush has a larger handle and the bristles of the brush do the moving for you.
  • It is not always necessary to use toothpaste if this adds excessive anxiety to your child. The important removal of food and plaque can be accomplished with a wet toothbrush.
  • For children who cannot tolerate swallowing any water, “rinse” the mouth after brushing by using a wet gauze or washcloth.
  • Flossing is most easily accomplished with a commercially available floss aid or holder.

Special needs children with limited or lack of manual dexterity will need assistance brushing and flossing their teeth. Your local Sugar Land and Wharton, TX pediatric dentist can offer some additional insights to help you maximize your child’s oral and dental health.

Assisting with Your Child’s Oral Hygiene

Special NeedsWhen assisting your child with his or her oral hygiene routine, choose an area that is well lit. If your child is in a wheelchair, the kitchen is probably the best place. For maximum ease and comfort, we recommend being behind your child during the actual brushing. If you decide to put your child on the sofa or floor, make sure his or her head is supported and that you take extra care to prevent any choking or gagging. Note that using wet gauze in this position minimizes the onset of choking and gagging.

If your child is uncooperative, approach him or her in a very calm and reassuring manner, explaining in simple terms what you are going to do. Remember that some children are oversensitive to having anything placed in their mouths, so you must move very slowly so you don’t startle them. Give verbal praise along the way and reinforce independent attempts at care.

Contact Your Premiere Sugarland & Wharton, TX Pediatric Dentist Today!

Larry Caldwell DDS & Associates is committed to delivering exceptional, beautiful smiles while providing excellent, compassionate care to all children. Our pledge to our patients and their parents is to provide outstanding pediatric dentistry services in a safe and comfortable environment. If you have further questions about special needs pediatric dentistry or best practices for providing proper oral hygiene care to your child at home, please feel free to contact us or make an appointment in our Sugar Land or Wharton, TX office. We look forward to your visit! Please see below for additional resources for information on special needs pediatric dentistry.


The following groups may be of help should you need more information on special needs pediatric dentistry:

  • American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, (312) 337-2169
  • Academy of Dentistry for the Handicapped, (312) 440-2660
  • National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, (303) 573-0264
  • American Dental Association, (312) 440-2500

Larry Caldwell, DDS & Associates

  • Sugar Land Location - 15200 S.W. Freeway, Suite 320, Sugar Land, TX 77478 Phone: 281-565-5437
  • Wharton Location - 1016 Sunny Lane, Wharton, TX 77488 Phone: 281-565-5437 Fax: 281-565-6446

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