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the dentist

Nobody likes going to the dentist. But keeping your teeth healthy is really important. In this guide, Carly finds out how dentists can support people with SEND.


Carly's story

Carly lives with mild cerebral palsy and has a learning disability and a visual impairment.

She used to be very nervous about going to the dentist. Then she found out about the NHS Special Care Dental Service. They have supported her to make visiting the dentist less stressful. 

In this film Carly shows you what a visit to the dentist involves and interviews her dentist about how they can support other young disabled people.

Press the play button to watch the film.

Communicating with your dentist

Everyone has different communication needs. Your dentist should support you to communicate in a way that works for you. That could mean providing:

  • Easy-read documents
  • Large print documents
  • Signing services 

Carly spoke to Vicky Watkinson, the learning disability dental nurse at her surgery, to find out what support they provide.

Click the play button to watch the clip below.

How to find a dentist

Carly uses the Special Care Dental Service at NHS Solent. They are a special service supporting people with additional needs.

Not all dentists provide the full range of support that Carly’s dentist does. But, depending on your needs, you may find a general dentist provides all the support you need. 

To find a dentist in your area you can use the link or the phone number below.

Special Care Services

Most NHS areas in England have a Special Care Dental Service. 

If you want to go to the Special Care Dental Service you usually need to be referred by a health professional. You can ask your existing dentist or GP for advice. 

If you don’t have a dentist or GP then the NHS contact line can help you.

You could also try your local Healthwatch group. Healthwatch are an organisation that makes sure the NHS listens to patients. 

Carly holding a microphone while interviewing her dentist


Here are some helpful and accessible documents about visting the dentist and looking after your teeth.

Thank you to NHS Solent for making these documents and allowing us to share them!

“Try and talk about what makes you feel anxious before you visit the dentist because that really does help”


Carly sits in a dentist's chair smiling

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  • Preferred Name: Órla
  • Role at KIDS: Wellbeing co-ordinator.
  • About me: I run the online well-being groups and a group in Wandsworth. I am also a playworker! I have a background in Art therapy. 
  • Fun facts: I love different wheels! I have roller-skates, a surf-skate board and a bike. 


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