Children with special needs, like any normal child, deserve all the love and affection that every parent has to offer. However, because of their condition, parents have to exercise a higher degree of care and supervision to make sure that they are always safe and healthy. Usually, parents often focus strongly on mental health and other medical issues. As such, parents can forget to provide proper dental care for children with special needs. This is very important because not only are children with special needs more likely to encounter dental problems compared to children without special needs, but they are also prone to having unique oral health issues.
Dental care for children with special needs should consist of regular visits to the dentist. They will know what to do if there are any issues and will be able to help you keep maintain your child’s good oral health.
Autism and Dental Treatment
Among these children with special needs are those on the autism spectrum. This condition can cause significant challenges in the way a child behaves, socializes, and communicates. As such, included in the dental care for children with special needs is preparing your child for their trip to the dentist, as this could be overwhelming for them. Here are some tips on how to balance concerns about your child’s autism and dental treatment.
Before Going to the Dentist
1. Role play at home.
If there’s one thing kids love, it’s role-playing. What you can do is to pretend to be the dentist and ask your child to lie down either in bed or on a reclining chair. Ask them to open their mouths wide open and pretend to do a dental exam. If you have any play dental equipment, that would be so much better. This way, your child may not feel scared or anxious when going to the dentist since it becomes a fun, playful, and familiar experience.
2. Watch videos and look at photos of other children at the dentist.
If there’s one thing that will encourage your child to go to the dentist, it’s seeing their peers do the same. If they can watch videos of other children undergo dental exams, they will have the courage to do so as well. This also gives them a reasonable expectation of how a dental clinic would look like in real life.
3. Take them to the dental office for a preliminary visit.
The goal here is for your child to get familiar with the place and know the dentist as well as the staff. For kids with special needs, you may not be able to expect them to sit in the dental chair immediately and have the dental exam in one go. On your first visit, just let your child familiarize themselves with the place and talk to the staff and the dentist. This way, they will be ready and prepared for the actual examination the next time you visit.
During Your Dental Appointment
Dental care for children with special needs requires patience. When you arrive for your dental appointment and are called back, do not immediately make your child sit in the dental chair. Politely ask them to and give them the time to voluntarily sit down for the exam.
You can also make your child more comfortable by bringing whatever makes them comfortable. You can bring their favorite blanket, toy, or any item which helps him feel better.
Should your child need a break during your dental appointment, then do so. Let them move out of the chair and play or take them out for some air. Afterwards, ask them again to return to continue the examination.
After the Dentist Appointment
After your appointment, it is important to make your child feel accomplished. Congratulate your child by telling them how brave they were or treating them to a favorite food or activity, provided they don’t need a rest after all that excitement.
Finding the Right Dentist
The most important thing to consider about dental care for children with special needs is finding the right autism dentist. Autism and dental treatment when taken together require patience, gentleness, and the ability to make the child feel comfortable and safe. Look for a holistic dentist in Durango, CO who can provide dental care for children with special needs. If you want the best, contact us at Sunrise Dentistry!