Special needs dentistry is essential to all parents and family members of special needs children. Finding a special needs dentist can be a difficult task for parents.
Finding a pediatric dentist is hard enough as is, but finding a special needs dentist might be a little bit more difficult. There are some key questions you can ask before you bring your child to the dentist to ensure that the practice is a good fit.
What are special needs dental visits like?
A special needs dentist will do what they can to make your child as comfortable as possible. This is the standard procedure among pediatric dentists: To ensure comfort before beginning any visit, appointment or procedure. Depending on the child’s needs, however, this visit might take on a specialized format.
Is there specialized training?
Specialty training for dentists is available. Many dentists will undergo an extra type of interactive training for special needs patients that will help them better care for their patients. This shows that the dentist took the initiative to treat all of their patients with the utmost care.
In addition to specialized training available for pediatric dentists, dental experience can be of huge value to you and your child. A dentist with a demonstrated history of successful treatment of special needs patients will give your child the best possible treatment available from a dentist that has seen it all.
The dentists will review your child’s treatment plan with you, and them, at the same time. This transparency will create a sense of trust between all parties involved. All patients tend to have a better time when they know what is going to be treated and approximately the length of time of that treatment.
Dentistry for autism
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can have varying sensory issues. A visit to the dentist can be one of the strangest and most uncomfortable for all children. Fortunately, pediatric dentists with a history of treating special needs patients adopt a variety of techniques that help minimize problems for autistic clients.
For children that seek out different sensory stimuli, they might love the feeling of brushing their teeth. This will help them have better oral hygiene and help their love for the dentist. For children that might dislike new senses or avoid them, new toothpaste flavors may be an issue. This can be alleviated with a less flavorful or unflavored option.
One of the toughest tasks for all parents is keeping their child on an oral hygiene regimen. This is something a pediatric dentist can help with, by initiating good oral habits to make the dental experience more enjoyable. Very few children love brushing their teeth. Having a dentist help with finding that love is a valuable asset.
Creating a dental schedule
A dentist will want to ensure that a child understands the process and steps to their dental appointment. Normally, a visual dental schedule will be provided in view of the patient during their procedure. This will help them keep track of all dental visit steps in an easy-to-consume way, alleviating dental-induced anxiety.
Easing a child into dentistry
Most children are uneasy at the dentist, even more so when it is their first time. On occasion, your child’s dentist will ease the patient into the process before they go in-depth in their dental care.
Often, the new patient is brought in and checked in. After waiting for their name to be called, the dentist will introduce themselves and might have them sit in the chair. The dentist will ask the patient to smile and will most likely complete a visual assessment for the first time.
This approach is one of the ways that a dentist will create a calming environment for the child. Rather than doing a check-up with a full set of tools, a longer approach will help the child to ease into their dental visits. This helps create a better relationship with your child and their oral hygienist.