Proper oral care is important for every child, and your child with special needs is no exception. Unfortunately, some pediatric dentists are hesitant to work with children with disabilities. With some research, you can find a pediatric dentist who can make your child feel comfortable and confident at a dental visit. Here are some attributes to look for in a dental office for your child with disabilities.
They Are Equipped for Disability
The first thing you should notice about a pediatric dental office that treats children with special needs is that they have made every effort to be completely accessible. There should be ample handicapped parking, and an easily accessible ramp for wheelchairs and those with ambulatory issues.
The office should be inviting but not overwhelming. Books and toys should be placed where children with special equipment, such as wheelchairs, can easily find them.
If children cannot easily move around the office and take advantage of benefits on their own, it is not the right office for your child.
They Have a Plan for Easing Anxiety
Many disabilities involve some level of anxiety, and sometimes children with autism or other issues can suffer from extreme anxiety. New situations may be very difficult for them mentally and emotionally.
A dentist's office that is ready for children with special needs will have a plan in place for preventing and coping with anxiety. They will offer you the opportunity to bring your child in to simply experience the room and the space before any dental work occurs at all. They may also offer a meeting between your child and a dental hygienist who will talk to the child, perhaps read a book about dental care and answer any questions your child might have.
They should also have a plan for coping with anxieties that occur out of the blue. They should be willing to show patience and flexibility when dealing with your child and should carefully listen when you explain your child's specific issues and needs.
They Teach Modified Dental Routines
Pediatric dentists experienced in caring for children with special needs understand that some children have physical or mental issues that make routine dental care difficult. They may not be able to open their mouths wide enough to accept a regular toothbrush, or they may not be able to brush their teeth for long.
Dentists specializing in treating disabled children can recommend electric toothbrushes, special toothpaste for children with sensory issues and even extensions that can be placed on a toothbrush to make it easier to use. They will work with you and your child to make your child's dental health routine successful.
They Talk About Sedation
Some children with special needs will need to be sedated for dental work. It is simply dangerous for the child and the dental staff otherwise. However, the right dental team will talk with you extensively about the types of sedation available and which they believe is the right choice for your child.
Be suspicious of any dentist who does not put serious thought and discussion into sedating a child.
Your child with special needs can have a positive experience at the dentist. Use these guidelines to find the right dental office for your family.Share