Special Needs Dental Services: Autism, Your Child, And Their Next Appointment

Posted on: 30 June 2018

A seemingly simple trip to the dentist isn't always easy for every child. If your child is autistic, the dentist's office can cause a sensory overload that is more than a challenge to handle. But this doesn't mean your child has to go with out a professional deep cleaning. Special needs dental services can provide your child with a more comfortable, less stressful experience.

Even after finding a dentist who understands and knows how to work with autistic children, you still need to prepare for the visit. With the proper preparation, your child stands a better chance of viewing the dentist's office as a positive place instead of an anxiety-producing one. Take a look at what you need to know before heading out to your child's next appointment.

Practice Before the Appointment

Whether your child has been to the dentist before or this is their first time, practicing beforehand can help them to think about what to expect. This can lead to a greater sense of comfort during the appointment. It can also help your child to better understand what the dentist or hygienist is asking them to do and why.

Role play a dentist's office scene. Use the recliner chair in your living room or another similar piece of furniture to mimic the dentist's chair. Review and practice some of the basic steps that your child will need to follow during their appointment. This includes keeping their hands down and in a safe position, and opening their mouth and holding it open.

Look at Pictures

Explaining what will happen at the dentist's office isn't always enough to help calm your child's fears. Sometimes they need a more concrete method to learn about what the cleaning and check-up will be like.

Show your child photos of a dentist's office online or in books. If you feel that your child may find it challenging to translate the general dentist's office photos to their specific experience, ask your dentist's staff if they have pictures to share.

You can turn the photos into a book that you page through in the days leading up to the appointment or you can create a pictorial schedule or map of the dentist's office for your child to review.

The first step to a successful dental appointment is preparation. Even if your dentist provides special needs dental services, role play and reviewing photos of the office before the big day can help your child to manage the situation with success. You can contact dental offices like Treasured Smiles Dentistry for more information.