You can trust our Santa Clara dentist when they say that the teeth are one of the most important parts of the body. Your teeth are responsible for chewing and grinding up your food, keeping your facial structure and giving you a beautiful smile! Most people might know how many teeth they have or how…
Dental Care is Not Impossible With a Special Needs Child
When you are the parent of a special needs child, dental care is an area that can easily be forgotten. With all the demands, doctor visits, pressing medical issues, therapists and more, adding one more office visit may be the last thing you want to do.
However, it is important that all children receive regular dental care. Dental care for special needs children is vital. Various genetic orders can actually leave children prone to gum diseases or decay. They may have delays in tooth eruption and/or malformed, missing or extra teeth. Impaired mobility may make it difficult for them to brush their teeth, and habitual grinding is not uncommon for those with cerebral palsy or severe intellectual disabilities.
Dental care visits should start early
Before the age of one, dentists recommend that all children have their first dental visit. In addition to evaluating a child’s development, the dentist is able to help educate the parent on a home care routine, and the child becomes familiar with the visits.
Dental care for special needs children
Dentists in general, especially pediatric dentists, know how to interact with patients with disabilities. They are trained to care for patients with special needs. Before committing to dental care for a special needs child, call ahead and ask if they have experience treating children with similar needs. Ask about best-practice recommendations for patients with specific needs.
Find a dentist who makes you and your child comfortable. It is important to find a dentist and clinic you trust. Dental care for special needs children should be consistent and familiar. Choosing a place and remaining there for years helps reduce the child’s anxiety and possibly the caregiver's as well.
There are clinics that specialize in providing care for special needs patients and are equipped with the necessary chairs, equipment and knowledge to create a comfortable caring environment for the patient and the caregiver.
Preventive dental care is the best treatment
Tooth decay is mostly preventable. While developmental problems can make children more accessible to dental issues, a pediatric dentist can help identify problems early on and create a plan for care. Part of this is in teaching a child and their caregiver how to properly care for the teeth. Children with sensory issues might find this difficult, and strategies, tools and a patient approach can be developed by closely working with the dentist.
Dental health should be a priority from the very beginning. The more familiar and routine it becomes, the better the chance that the child’s oral health will remain healthy.
Caregivers see greater success when they prepare their child before the first visit. Whether it is a certain routine leading up to the visit, a fun activity, a distraction or preparing by bringing the child’s favorite comfort toy, it is important to prep the child for success. Anxiety is contagious, but so is a positive attitude.
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