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Advances in Health and Medicine

Pitt Dentists Meet Special Needs


Submitting to a dentist’s pick or drill can intimidate even the healthiest patients. For people with chronic muscle spasms, say, or problems with blood clotting, it can be out of the question.

Fortunately, Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine is committed to training dentists in special-needs dentistry and making specialized dental care more widely available for patients with diseases (cerebral palsy, for example) or other health conditions (like HIV/AIDS infection) that can complicate or rule out regular trips to the dentist. The school is so committed, in fact, that it has a center dedicated to that purpose.

Established in 2001 by Pitt dental school dean Thomas Braun, the Center for Patients with Special Needs (CPSN) expands on the Pitt dental school’s tradition of caring for special-needs patients from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Lynne Taiclet is interim director of CPSN, which offers diagnostic services, routine prevention, and restorative dentistry. Its facilities, designed to increase patient volume from approximately 600 visits to greater than 2,000 visits per year, include six dedicated multispecialty rooms.

Specialty residents, predoctoral students, and dental hygiene students rotate through CPSN to provide individualized care based on patients’ medical histories, behavioral needs, and dental issues.