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The Joy of Treating Patients With Cerebral Palsy! (Tips)

When visiting a patient with cerebral palsy it is always important to:

1. Talk directly to the patient

The patient needs to be spoken directly to; I also like to communicate each step to the patient in order to help ease the appointment.

2. Talk to the caregivers about home care

Make sure you develop a relationship with the patients' caregivers so you can collaborate as a team.

3. Make sure the patient is comfortable throughout the appointment

Take the time to observe their non-verbal cues, such as sad faces.

4. Let the patient take plenty of breaks and relax

I like to give the patient 5 minutes to collect themselves and practice breathing exercises to make sure that they are relaxed.

5. Make special modifications to home care (Ex: Large handle toothbrushes and waterpiks)

I love to take baby steps and add only 1 new home care thing at a time. If a patient is only brushing, add a waterpik or monojet and practice with the caregiver to master that before adding something else.

6. Play music the patient enjoys

This is my favorite secret! I have found music therapy makes the appointment go more smoothly!

7. Use a diffuser!

It helps soothe and relax the patient and also helps if a patient has bad breath as it minimizes the bad odors in the air.

8. Use the cavitron

I like to lavage and lavage. It was much easier than hand scaling, especially when a patient moves quickly (make sure to use lower power for the patient so they do not feel like they are drowning).

9. Every patient is different

What works for one doesn't always work for everyone. Ask the patient how the appointment went and make notes for further appointments based on what the patient prefers.

Everytime you see a patient it gets easier and easier.


Cerebral Palsy is a condition marked by impaired muscle coordination.

The degree of mobility, spasms and severity differs between patients.

17 million people worldwide are currently living with cerebral palsy.

 In the United States, cerebral palsy occurs in 2-3 out of every 1,000 children.






I recently treated an at home patient who had cerebral palsy.

She was my motivation to get my RDHAP license!

She is the most loving person I know and it was difficult to get her to the dental office for regular cleanings. Now she gets to enjoy her cleanings in the comfort of her home! (Thanks to The Bright Bite’s Services). She was my first patient and she has helped me with my services to help those with special needs.

My patient happens to be a very important family member.







My aunt Sandy, my mom’s sister. She is spastic, and she cannot coordinate her movements.

She is wheelchair bound and it is difficult to understand her speaking.

My Tia Sandra is one of a kind! She is now in her late 50’s and enjoys life. She loves farmers' markets, concerts in the park, and is happily married.





Growing up, my grandparents watched my aunt Sandy, my great grandmother (who had severe Alzheimer’s), and myself everyday until I went to kindergarten! They made each day fun for all of us. My grandparents would take us on trips and to the park and my grandfather always said that she was the most important family member and that she was truly a gem. 

Growing up, I never heard my aunt complain about being disabled. She loved attending college classes and movies and she always knew how to make friends.

She has traveled the world and speaks both English and Spanish.

She also attends the gym weekly. 

She currently lives in an apartment with caregivers who attend to her needs 24/7.

The feedback I received from my aunt was that it was the easiest cleaning she ever had! Her caregiver also agreed that she was very calm and it was the easiest dental visit she had witnessed. She felt relaxed and she said it was great to feel her teeth so clean!


TIA SANDRA IS OUR FAVORITE FEATURED PATIENT OF JULY!



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© 2018 by Allison Cuevas 

California Registered Dental Hygienist in Alternative Practice License #712