Photo By: Daniel Frank
Going to the dentist can be difficult for a child with autism. It can be harder for them to process the many sensory elements at the dental office. However, by visiting a special needs dentist, these dentists are trained to handle these situations. As a family dentist working for over 17 years, I’ve referred many families to special needs dentists who have been able to create a positive dental experience for children with autism. Today, I’ll be sharing the top benefits of visiting a special needs dentist.
The first benefit of a special needs dentist is that they’ve had years of extra schooling. A dental student will be in school for eight years. After that, many individuals choose to continue their education by choosing a dental specialty such as special needs or pediatrics. A special needs dentist will have 2-3 years of extra schooling to become experts in caring for children and patients with additional needs.
Special needs dentistry embraces a slower approach than traditional dental offices, which allows time for your child to adjust to the office. Some children with special needs have a higher risk for tooth decay and gum disease and some medication or dietary needs can affect your child’s oral health. A special needs dentist will take the time necessary to analyze your child’s overall health and find the best way to treat them.
Most special needs dental offices also offer familiarization appointments. These are scheduled before an actual dental appointment and allow a child to visit the dental office before any work is done on their teeth. Your child will get the opportunity to meet office and staff members and experience some of the sensory elements in a more relaxed environment. It’s a chance for you and your child to begin building important relationships with your dentist and staff members.
Dental sedation can be beneficial to special needs patients. Since many children often feel anxious about their dental appointments, sedation can help ease their nerves and make them comfortable during their appointment. Special needs dentist are committed to offering sedation and anesthesia as needed for their patients. Be sure to speak with a special needs patient about any other medical conditions your child may have to assure that dental sedation will be the safest option.
As mentioned, it can be harder for a patient with special needs to process the sensory elements at the dentist. Mobile Therapy Centers of America is a great resource for helping individuals with autism and special needs work through sensory issues they may have. Also, by visiting a special needs dentist, this experience can be easier. A special needs dentist has extra schooling and expertise on how to best care for patients. They also are committed to the comfort of a patient’s visit and offer sedation and anesthesia as needed. Dental care is extremely important to one’s overall health and well-being and a special needs dentist may be what your child needs to achieve this.