A special needs child also needs dental attention. These kids go through the usual stages that a normal kid goes through, albeit slowly. This is why you need to put their dental needs at the top of the list when it comes to their health.
Studies show that an estimated 12 percent of the children in the US have special health needs.
Special needs kids have high levels of anxiety when faced with certain situations. If they have never been to the dentist’s office before, this can turn out to be one of the anxiety situations for them.
This is why you need to work with a dentist that understands the circumstances and approaches the task at hand with a lot of understanding. While many dentists have experience with a variety of special needs, it would help a lot if you can assist them in making things easier. So, how can you make the experience of the child better?
Accessibility of the Office
Many special needs kids use special tools to move around. One of the most common is the wheelchair. It would be best if you worked with a “dentist office near me” that has designed their office in such a way that it is wheelchair accessible.
Having a wheelchair ramp makes it easy for you to get your child into the office. It also shows you that the dentist understands the kid’s plight and has put up measures to make things work better.
Choose a Dentist that Has Prior Experience Working with Special Needs Patients
If the dentist has ever handled cases to do with this category of patients, the better for you.
If, on the other hand, the dentist has no idea what to do with the patient, then it is ideal for him to refer you to a dentist who has experience dealing with such patients. This way, the dentist that will attend to the kid will have an idea of what to expect and how to handle any ensuing situations.
Availability of Distractions
Patients with special needs get distracted easily, and this might prove to be a stumbling block for the dentist seeking to treat the patient. This is why the “dentist office near me “ must have enough distractions to keep them occupied all the time. Only the parent or the guardian is conversant with the distractions that will keep the patient busy. Talk to the dentist and advise them on how well to prepare for the session.
Opt for a Dentist that Offers Pre-appointments
It is always good to have a dentist that offers pre-appointments. A pre-appointment gives you and the child the chance to meet up with the dentist and check out the environment way before you decide to work with him. Any new environment is usually a nightmare for the child, but when you have a pre-appointment, the child creates a rapport and feels more secure and comfortable and will cooperate with the dentist and his team.
Look Out for Specialized Training
Some dentists go for specialized training to be able to handle kids with special needs. Before you go ahead and schedule an appointment, try and find out whether the dentist has such a qualification.
The Available Sedation Options
The need for sedation differs from one child to another. Some kids need general anesthesia, while others will need mild sedation for the procedure to be done. Talk to the dentist to know the available options, and what they recommend for your child.
Dental Exams for Special needs Kids
The process of treatment for a dental issue follows the same route as the one for normal kids. The dentist usually performs a routine check to determine the status of the oral cavity before performing any restorative procedure. You might want to be part of the process, especially if the kid is anxious and jittery.
This examination doesn’t usually require sedation at all.
Oral Care for Special needs Children
The teeth of special needs children suffer the same fate as that of normal kids if left unattended. Dentists usually recommend the use of a toothbrush with soft bristles because it won’t irritate the gums. Using toothpaste might cause unnecessary anxiety to the child, in this case, wet the toothbrush and use it without the toothpaste to remove any food particles and plaque that has accumulated.
Some children won’t tolerate swallowing water; in this case, use wet gauze or a washcloth to rinse the mouth.
When Should You Visit a “Dentist Office Near Me?”
Just like any other kid, you need to make sure your child sees the dentist at the earliest opportunity. Don’t wait till the kid develops issues with their teeth – make sure they see the dentist before their first birthday.