Special Health Care Needs Dentistry in Slidell, LA

We’re passionate about building an inclusive pediatric dental home where all smiles are welcome. That’s why we get to know your kiddo, learn what makes them feel at ease, and tailor appointments to meet their unique needs — no matter their condition.

Schedule Now

Why should I choose a board-certified pediatric dentist for my child with special needs?

Every child is different. And if your little one has health problems that make their treatment difficult for any reason, a board-certified pediatric dentist can help. Dr. Mesa spent 2 years of additional training following dental school working with patients with very complex medical and behavioral issues of all ages. We specialize in treating children with sensory sensitivities, ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), genetic disorders, physical disabilities, and a variety of other conditions; whatever their needs may be, our experienced team can ensure your little one gets the care they need to thrive.

tooth and mirror tool

Did you know…

tooth icon

48% of patients with special health care needs don’t get a yearly checkup, compared to 35% of the general population.

Ready to schedule your appointment?

Call (985) 259-6737 Today

Differentiator Heading

This is the differentiator paragraph copy. This is the differentiator paragraph copy. This is the differentiator paragraph copy. This is the differentiator paragraph copy.

Before Image

Stress-Free Sedation Options

No child deserves to struggle with fear or pain during treatment. Sedation options are an effective way to help your kiddo get the care they need without discomfort or anxiety. Talk to your child’s dentist to learn more about what sedation option will best fit their needs.

No Drill, No Shot Options

Numbing shots and noisy drills can cause unnecessary anxiety and fear for kiddos. We’re proud to offer drill-free and shot-free treatment options that not only protect your child’s smile but keep them calm and reassured, too.

Behavior Guidance Counseling

Sitting in the dental chair isn’t always easy! That’s why our compassionate team offers behavior guidance counseling. With our gentle directions and upbeat approach, we’ll empower your child to face challenges, overcome obstacles, and gain confidence as they learn how to take charge of their oral health.

Desensitization Appointments

Going to the dentist is a significant experience, with new faces, sounds, and expectations. To help your child adjust, we offer desensitization appointments. Through a series of visits, the dentist will give your child a tour of our office, introduce our friendly team, and teach them about dental tools. This helps your kiddo get acclimated with our space so they can feel safe, secure, and cared for.

Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist

Rest assured that your child is receiving top-notch, specialized care with Dr. Tyler Mesa, our Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist. To be recognized by The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, doctors must undergo extensive training in the pediatric field, including providing care to children with special health care needs, in addition to their standard dental degrees.

Care with Compassion

Advanced Training

Specialized Expertise

Heartfelt Care

Why Choose Dr. Tyler Mesa?

Dr. Mesa is truly dedicated to providing quality, comforting care to all children, especially those with special health care needs. In fact, he was inspired to become a board-certified pediatric dentist by his brother, Tony, who is autistic and epileptic. During college, Dr. Mesa also worked as an ABA therapist for children with autism.

Request Information

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
dark grey x mark
Call (985) 259-6737 Today

Before & After

A smile is worth 1,000 words.

See real patient success stories.

Service Before ImageService After Image

The Benefits of Special Health Care Needs Dentistry

Better Patient Accommodations

Your child’s dentist can do things like adjust office lighting and sound for patients with sensory issues, use special equipment to treat patients, and provide additional staff to ensure that special needs patients get the personalized care they need.

Expert Care For Every Patient

Special health care needs dentists know how to treat patients with a wide variety of physical, mental, and developmental impairments. Your child’s dentist will know how to keep them safe and comfortable as they get the dental care they need.

Comfort With Sedation

A wide variety of sedation options are available, which allow their patients to rest, relax, and even sleep soundly through their appointment. Sedation is a very useful tool for patients who may otherwise have trouble being treated in a traditional dental environment.

Hospital Sedation

Hospital sedation provides a safe, anxiety-free option for pediatric dental care. Administered by an anesthesiologist, sedatives allow kids to fully relax through procedures. Vital signs are monitored ensuring optimal levels are maintained. With fewer traumatic memories, hospital sedation can build a lifetime of positive dental experiences for children.

The Special Health Care Needs Dentistry Process

tooth cleaning icon

Initial Health Discussion

To begin, Dr. Tyler Mesa will meet with you and your child, and review their medical history, records, medications they're taking, and other details. Every patient with special health care needs is different, so it’s important for their dentist to develop a full understanding of their health and disabilities. Sometimes a few desensitization visits are necessary in order to help coach your child into feeling comfortable in the dental chair, and that's okay! We'll work with you to ensure your child feels comfortable with our team and office during their visits.

tooth cleaning icon

Oral Exam & Teeth Cleaning

The first step toward better oral health is a comprehensive oral exam and teeth cleaning. This gives our team the opportunity to learn more about your child’s health, identify potential oral health issues, and understand the next steps for a healthier mouth.

tooth cleaning icon

Personalized Treatment Plan

After your child's consultation, our pediatric dentist in Slidell will discuss their oral health with you. They will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan, including both any necessary in-office care and recommendations for at-home oral hygiene.

Schedule Today!

We can't wait to see you.

Book now

Frequently Asked Questions

Conditions that may affect your child’s dental care include:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cleft Lip & Palate
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Down Syndrome & other genetic disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

When you call to inquire about an appointment, let our team know your child’s condition and needs, and we’ll work together to determine if our practice is the right fit for your family.

Your child’s oral health may be affected by therapies or medications that have been used to treat their condition. The condition itself may also affect how the teeth and oral structures grow, how much calcium is in the body (affecting tooth enamel), how much saliva your child produces (saliva helps clear away food particles), and your child’s diet.

Nutrition plays a critical role, not only in the health of our bodies, but in the health of our teeth. Even your child’s ability to chew solid foods will affect their dental health, as the pressure of chewing creates stimulation in the jaw bone and the friction helps clear away tartar and plaque build up.

The most common indicators that your child may have special health care needs include:

Teeth grinding or bruxism: Although many children grind their teeth and often grow out of the habit, the condition can be caused by stress and anxiety. It’s important to treat the underlying issue to stop bruxism and protect your child’s teeth.

Food pouching: Food or sensory sensitivities can cause children to hold food in their mouths for longer than they should. This creates a place for cavity-causing bacteria to thrive.

Bad breath: Certain conditions such as digestive diseases, diabetes, or chronic sinusitis can cause bad breath.

Oral aversion: An oral aversion is when your child strongly dislikes anything touching their mouth. They may avoid eating anything at all, or just foods of a certain texture.

Self-injurious behavior: Cheek-biting and other self-injurious behaviors behaviors can end up having a negative effect on a child's oral health and overall well being.

Several kid-friendly, liquid medicines contain a syrup base with added sugar so children will actually take the medication and benefit from its effects. However, these sugars can cause cavities if they’re not properly rinsed or brushed away after use.

Other medications can cause a reduction in saliva, or dry mouth. And since saliva helps clear away food particles, sugars and bacteria from the mouth, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, or infection. It’s important that you share a list of medications your child uses, so our team can provide oral care recommendations that work around your child’s medical needs.

Sometimes children with physical, emotional, behavioral, intellectual or communication disabilities may find it difficult to properly brush their own teeth. They may not possess the fine motor skills needed, and will need your help to maintain good oral health. Here are a few tips to help you brush your child’s teeth:

  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles that’s made for children. Your child may be more interested in brushing if the toothbrush has their favorite character on the handle or if it’s their favorite color.
  • Use oral hygiene aids, like brushes with larger handles. If your child has trouble holding their toothbrush, try fastening the toothbrush with a string, strap or your own hand and guiding them on the right technique.
  • Pick a fluoride toothpaste that your child likes. They come in many different flavors and colors, so you should be able to find one that they enjoy.
  • Monitor the amount of toothpaste used. You should apply the toothpaste to the brush, so they don’t use too much, and monitor your child as they brush, so they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
  • Make it fun! Sing songs, count, or say the alphabet while your child brushes so they get a sense of how long they should brush, and stay entertained while brushing.
  • Ask the Live Oak Pediatric Dentistry team for assistance at your child's next visit! We can help coach your family on positioning and techniques to more successfully brush at home.