Special Needs Kids of All Ages Need Dental Care
Dental Care for Children With Special Needs
An essential component of pediatric dentistry that we offer at Smile Center for Kids is comprehensive preventive care for patients with special needs. Regardless of any disability or developmental issue they may have, we value each of our special needs patients and seek to ensure they get the best possible dental care. They deserve to be seen by a special needs dentist — specifically a special needs pediatric dentist.
Choose a Dentist Experienced in Working With Special Needs Children
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, special healthcare needs encompass “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, healthcare intervention, and use of specialized services and/or programs.”
A child with special needs requires specific consideration in the dental office, whether they have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, or any other condition or injury that might interfere with a standard dental procedure.
Most dentists are able to accommodate special needs patients, but only a special needs pediatric dentist has the knowledge and expertise necessary to work with their limitations in the best way, with the most compassion, patience, and understanding — particularly for a child who has never been to the dentist before. We can help them adjust to this new experience and make dental care less stressful for them and you.
The Initial Visit for Special Needs Patients
We encourage you to call us ahead of the first visit to let us know you’re bringing your child with special needs so that we can discuss our accommodations and any triggers your child may have. We can arrange for a visit that is mainly an introduction and consultation to help your child feel comfortable at our practice and with our team.
Explain the upcoming visit to your child. It can help to practice how the experience will go: first, they will sit in the waiting room until it’s their turn, then they will get to sit in a reclining chair so that someone can brush their teeth with a special toothbrush. Show them pictures of our team from our About Us pages so that we won’t be unfamiliar faces.
You can also read books about going to the dentist or show videos about how going to the dentist is easy. It’s important to help them understand that dental care is a part of life for everyone, not just them, and that they’re going to see a dentist who specializes in working with kids. We aim to build a foundation for a lifetime of trust in the dentist so that your child will be unafraid to get the dental care they need.
The cleaning room has a chair for a parent to sit in while their child’s teeth are cleaned. For some kids, this is very reassuring and helps keep them calm, but it sometimes has the opposite effect. This is something to discuss when scheduling the appointment. We want to help you and your child have the best experience possible at Smile Center for Kids.
Helping Special Needs Patients Feel Comfortable
There are several strategies we use to provide our special needs patients with a pleasant experience at our practice. We are prepared to offer a variety of distractions to calm their nerves, including weighted vests, noise-canceling headphones, and pleasant-tasting fluoride and toothpaste.
Everyone deserves to have a positive experience with the dentist, especially a child with special needs. Choosing a special needs pediatric dentist and doing a little bit of prep work at home before the first visit are two of the best ways you can provide that positive experience for your child.