Special Patients, Special Care: Dentistry and Your Special Needs Child
While going to the dentist can be daunting for anyone, children with developmental disabilities may find it particularly challenging. The sounds, smells and sights of a dental office can be frightening when children have sensory issues or trouble understanding the world around them. Luckily, we are specially trained to treat young patients who might need a bit of extra attention and special care.
Since people with disabilities can be at higher risk for oral health problems, it’s especially important that parents and our office work together to establish a level of comfort and routine when it comes to dental care. Consider the following tips that can help lead to happy, healthy dental visits for children with special needs:
1. Let us know in advance exactly what your child’s needs are, so that we can better prepare for his or her visit. Make a date to come by our office prior to the appointment. We can introduce ourselves to you and your child and give you a “tour” of all the rooms and the dental equipment.
2. A few weeks before your appointment, start reading stories or watching television programs about visiting the dentist. If possible, talk about what will happen in easy-to-understand terms.
3. If your child is sensitive to noise, bring noise-cancelling headphones and music he or she can listen to during the examination. A stuffed animal, blanket or other comforting object can also help children feel more secure.
4. We might recommend sedation in certain circumstances, sometimes even for simple cleanings and examinations. Consider whether your child can sit still for the examination or if being asleep might make things easier for him or her.
5. Keep up with routine visits. Familiar faces can minimize some of the anxiety your child―and you―might feel about dental appointments.
Dental examinations are only part of the battle. You need to help your child care for his or her teeth between visits. Ask us for suggestions on improving oral health at home―then rest assured that you’re doing all you can to serve the dental needs of your child.
Click here to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jared. Or give us a call at (509)-891-7070.