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Meet David Ferguson of Special Need Dental

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Ferguson. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Special Need Dental was founded in 1985 by ‘Melvin L. Shanley, DDS PC’. He began his dental career with a traditional family dental practice.

When one of his patients mentioned the difficulty in finding dental care for her daughter with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), without hesitation Dr. Shanley welcomed her daughter into his practice. Word began to spread in the community, and over the ensuing years and decades, Dr. Shanley became known by local dentists and organizations serving those with I/DD as San Antonio’s “go-to” option for special needs dentistry.

Dr. Shanley’s practice also attracted staff who shared the vision of providing excellent and compassionate clinical care to individuals with developmental differences, and today many of our staff have immediate family and other personal connections to individuals with I/DD.

At the end of 2019, Dr. Shanley and his wife Terry retired, and at that time Dr. Dave Ferguson and Dr. Karan Shah, who both had clinical experience treating patients with I/DD, wanted to ensure that this practice continued to provide these critical services to patients in need.

On January 1, 2020, Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Shah took over the practice and renamed it “Special Need Dental” to reflect the enduring mission of enabling beautiful smiles and providing a comfortable, compassionate environment for the members of the special needs community.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Assuming the ownership of Special Need Dental at the beginning of 2020 presented several challenges.

The COVID pandemic and the associated healthcare restrictions created many obstacles for our practice, even more for the families and group homes that take care of so many individuals with special needs.

We are grateful for the heroic efforts of all caregivers during that difficult period.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
There are several things that make Special Need Dental stand out:

– We provide comprehensive dental services: restorative, cosmetic, and surgical.

– We welcome patients of all ages, from pediatric through geriatric.

– We accommodate all levels of ability, including those with unique physiological and behavioral conditions.

– For those who are especially anxious and unable to receive their cleanings and treatment while awake, we work with a team of board-certified and board-eligible anesthesiologists to make your loved one feel as comfortable as possible.

While we have many techniques to positively manage difficult behavior, many caregivers are looking for a dental office that can provide all necessary treatment quickly and painlessly while the patient is asleep.

– Our staff is all experienced in working with special needs patients, and we love the opportunity to make a positive difference for every single one. Some members of our staff have been working with our patients for decades!

– We are in-network with Medicaid and PPO insurance plans and provide payment plans for those in need.

Our goal is to provide relief to the individuals and families who often have harrowing experiences in healthcare.

What do you think about luck?
Luck has played–and does play–a huge role in our success. Luck has enabled all of the interactions with other people who make our dental practice possible and meaningful.

We are especially lucky for our wonderful patients and their families and caretakers.

We are also incredibly lucky to work with a group of exceptionally committed, personally-invested team members. The clinical and administrative team at Special Need Dental is extraordinary.

I can’t single out just one without mentioning all of them: Tracy, Mckayla, Christina, Gisele, Rosie, Rachel, Jessica, and Jonathan, all care deeply about making our practice and our city a welcoming place for everybody with different abilities.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Penelope and Dr. Karan Shah

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