Care For Those With Special Needs

Riley Hospital for Children Pediatric Dentistry at Indiana University Health offers specialized care for children with any physical, developmental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive or emotional impairment. We offer a variety of services to treat your child effectively with attention to any special needs they may have.


For children who may be afraid of treatment at the dentist’s office, we offer a variety of sedation methods that are safe and effective. Children who may benefit from dental treatment under sedation include those with extreme dental fear, anxiety, or those with a special healthcare need that may limit their ability to be cooperative. We provide the following methods of sedation:

  • Minimal sedation (anxiolysis) with nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia (laughing gas)
  • Moderate sedation (using oral medication)
  • Deep sedation (using intravenous medications)

Your child’s pediatric dental provider will evaluate and determine which method would be most beneficial and effective for completing your child’s dental care.

General Anesthesia

For children with significant physical, cognitive, developmental or medical conditions that make dental care in the outpatient setting impossible, or for those who require extensive dental treatment, we can provide care under general anesthesia. Our general anesthesia services are provided at either the outpatient ambulatory surgery center located on the lower level of the Riley Outpatient Center at Indiana University Health or at Riley Main Day Surgery at Indiana University Health, located on the second floor of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Your child’s pediatric dental provider will evaluate and determine which method would be most beneficial and effective for completing your child’s dental care.

Orthodontic Care

Orthodontics (braces) is a dental specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. Orthodontic care is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaws, and improve your child’s smile. Our pediatric dental team is able to provide routine orthodontic care as well as interceptive orthodontic care that provides early treatment for such conditions as:

  • Anterior or posterior cross-bites
  • Impacted canines
  • Habit appliances

Please ask your child’s pediatric dentist for further information about this type of specialty care.

Emergency Care

Dental emergencies happen when you least expect them, and need attention as soon as possible. We provide emergency care for our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During regular business hours, we invite you to call our clinic at 317.944.3865 to schedule an appointment. For after-hours emergencies, please call 317.944.5000 and ask the operator to connect you to the pediatric dental resident on call.

Restorative Care

Riley Pediatric Dentistry at IU Health provides a variety of restorative techniques for both primary and permanent teeth damaged by decay or trauma. These restorations include fillings, crowns, extractions and space maintainers. Your child’s pediatric dentist will develop a plan for restoring your child’s smile to full form and function.

Age One Visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children have their first visit to the dentist within six months of the eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday. It is important to establish a dental home early in a child’s life and we invite you to let us be that home. At this first visit, we can provide a wealth of information on teething, oral hygiene, diet, oral-health risk assessment and brushing.