Dental Care for Autistic Children

While a trip to the dentist’s office can become difficult for any patient; children with special needs might find they have a harder time. The good news is that many of the unpleasant feelings surrounding the visit can be resolved easily. This requires some planning and additional support.
 
Visit the Dentist Early
 
As soon as your child sprouts their first tooth, you should make an appointment to see the dentist. This allows the team to build a relationship with the child early, maybe even before the signs of an autism spectrum disorder show themselves. 
 
Waiting until the child is older could lead to trouble with the child bonding with the dentist. If you wait until problems arise, this trip can be downright problematic. Allowing your child to become comfortable with the dental team at an early age reduces overall anxiety as the years go by. 
 
Do Research
 
There is a ton of material available to support you as you walk through life with a child dealing with Autism. On the Autism Speaks website, there is even a dental toolkit featuring books for children, downloadable apps, videos and other materials you might find helpful in preparing your child for the dentist. 
 
In addition, there is a 34-page booklet that teaches how to practice good dental hygiene and prepare for future dental visits. 
 
Choose a Dentist You Trust
 
You may find that your dentist has more experience dealing with autistic children than you realized. Speak directly with your dentist to ascertain their knowledge and experience level. If you are still feeling uncomfortable or unsure, there are dentists that specialize in the care of special needs children. You could search your area to see what is available.
 
Many dentists are learning about these needs and receiving the training necessary to handle kids with many types of difficulties. Mainly, they work at reducing the stress level so that children feel comfortable at their office and in their homes. 
 
Going to the dentist shouldn’t be a traumatic experience for any child. Have an honest and open conversation with your Bayside general dentist about the steps you need to take and then relax, knowing that your child is in good hands.