Special Needs Patients
Please use the links below to complete our Special Needs New Patient Registration and Records Release Request so we can best accommodate your needs. Thank you.
Due to the time and attention required to treat special needs patients, our practice is limited to those Special Needs patients over the age of 21 requiring dental treatment under sedation in a hospital-based setting.
Special Needs Dentistry accommodates patients who, due to physical, medical, developmental or cognitive conditions, require special consideration when receiving dental treatment. This can include people with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and various degrees of Intellectual Disabilities.
Many individuals with developmental disabilities are unable to receive comprehensive dental treatment in a traditional dental setting due to the limitations of their special needs. For this reason, people with special needs are best treated in the safety and security of the hospital operating room. While the patient is fully asleep under the supervision of an Anesthesiologist, the dentist will treat and restore all oral disease.
Caring for a special needs patient takes patience, compassion and understanding. Dr. Berwitz is proud to be on staff at Memorial University Medical Center, Savannah, GA, where he has privileges to take patients in the hospital operating room so that treatment can be accomplished under general anesthesia. In these cases, treatment is usually done in one visit. During his time in residency, and as an attending dentist at Overlook Hospital in Summit, NJ, he treated many patients in the hospital. Dr. Berwitz is an active member in the American Association of Hospital Dentists and the Special Care Dental Association.
Due to the time and attention required to treat special needs patients, our practice is limited to those Special Needs patients requiring dental treatment under sedation in a hospital-based setting.
How does the Hospital-Based Special Needs Dentistry Process work?
1) The patient is scheduled for a Dental Assessment with Savannah dentist, Dr. Berwitz, in his office. Dental Assessments are conducted the first Friday of every month, by appointment only, and last about 30 minutes. During this visit, Dr. Berwitz will meet the patient and their caregiver to conduct an initial dental exam which may include, but is not limited to, a comprehensive oral exam and xrays. Dr. Berwitz will also speak to the caretaker about any dental concerns they may have regarding the patient’s oral care. In some instances, due to the patient’s special needs, xrays and an oral exam are not possible. However the office is still required to have a Dental Assessment appointment with any patient in need of hospital based dentistry.
2) After the patient’s Dental Assessment a Dental Treatment Plan will be created for the patient and a hospital-based dentistry treatment date will be assigned. Hospital-based dentistry appointments are scheduled on Fridays only, starting at 7am. The patient will be given an H&P From that must be completed by the patient’s PCP no more than 30 days prior to the patient’s hospital-based dentistry treatment date. This form must be completed, signed and returned to the Dental office 1 week prior to the hospital-based dentistry treatment date.
3) The Treatment Plan will be submitted to the patient’s insurance or Support Coordinator for Pre-determination or Pre-approval. To help you navigate your medical and dental benefits, we will gladly verify your insurance by sending a pre-authorization and we will provide you with an estimate for your out-of-pocket dental expenses. Please provide our Savannah dental office with all dental and medical insurance information, as well as waiver information, so that the proper paperwork can be submitted and processed prior to the patient’s hospital-based dentistry treatment date.
4) The fee structure is such that there are 3 separate fees: one for the hospital and facilities, one for anesthesia, and one for the dental treatment. Your medical insurance should help cover portions of the first two fees (which will be billed by Memorial University Medical Center), and your dental insurance/dental treatment waiver will cover portions of the dental care (which will be billed through the dental office of Dr. Steven Berwitz). The patient is responsible for all non-covered expenses prior to treatment. To avoid cancellation/rescheduling of treatment, payment for dental services is due one month prior to the patient’s scheduled appointment.
5) The Dental office will confirm with the patient/caregiver the Monday prior to the patient’s hospital-based dentistry appointment. The Hospital will call the patient the night before the treatment date to instruct the patient on what time to arrive at Memorial Out Patient/Day Surgery Center, what to bring, and provide pre-surgery instructions. The patient should not eat or drink the day-of dental treatment. The patient will be required to sign consent forms at the hospital prior to receiving treatment—please be sure to advise the Dental office on who will serve as the Guardian/Interested Medical Party for the patient. Someone must be present at the hospital for the entire time the patient is receiving their hospital-based dental care.
6) After the hospital-based dental treatment has been completed the patient will be brought back to Day Surgery Recovery, where up to two caregivers may meet them. Dr. Berwitz will meet with the caregivers to go over post-surgery instructions and provide any prescriptions needed.
7) The Dental office will call the patient the Monday or Tuesday after hospital-based dental treatment to check-in and schedule an in-office post-op appointment (if needed).
Please contact our Savannah dental office with any questions or to schedule an appointment today.