When parents are faced with the challenges of raising an autistic child or children, they may be at a loss as to how to encourage the special soul on how to practice oral hygiene. Despite the love and guidance they try to bring, the brushing and flossing may be where the biggest struggle is. We at Smile Reef would like share how you can help your little ones with autism practice excellent oral hygiene.
Please keep in mind these are merely suggestions, each child is different and as their parent, you know the best approach and application with any of these steps.
Ideas for How to Get Autistic Children to Brush & Care for Teeth
1) Offer Choice. Many kids respond well to choice. Allowing them to select their own toothbrush; show them the different colors, styles, and even themes. Many kids do better with a vibrating toothbrush as they search for sensory. In addition to choosing their own toothbrush, have them select a flavor toothpaste and floss.
2) Celebrate and Reward. Offering praise when they brush their own teeth and floss, no matter how good or bad of a job they did is important upon completion. Simply celebrate the child entering the bathroom to perform the hygiene ritual. Praise them as they prepare the toothbrush by running it on the water, followed by the application of toothpaste. Continue to offer the praise until they have left the bathroom. When it comes to rewarding them consider using a token board, draw each step or use pictures. As your child completes each step praise them and reward them with a sticker to be placed on each step. Offer a prize at the end of completing the task. Eventually extend it to weekly rewards and then monthly until a reward is no longer needed. Use a reward jar filled with prizes and tokens to continue to encourage them.
3) Games. Play the “my turn your turn” game. Start by touching the toothbrush to your mouth, and then have your child copy the movement. Continue this same pattern with every step of brushing and flossing. If the games are fitting, distract them with their favorite book or song. Simply making the process more enjoyable will make the activity less of a challenge. With praise and rewards, high-fives and fist bumps, cheers, and turning the brushing and flossing into games and fun activities, your child will grow into practicing their oral hygiene habits. Like everything, it is important to remember patience in your endeavor.
Special Needs Dentistry
Additionally, allow your child to watch you brush and floss as well as let them come with you when you visit the dentist. If you are looking for a pediatric dentist to take care of the professional cleanings and procedures of your autistic child’s needs, consider Smile Reef. Our experts are formally trained and licensed to perform procedures on your special needs child and have the compassion and patience to make the process as comfortable as possible. Call Smile Reef today to schedule your child’s next appointment.
Going to the dentist can be difficult for anyone, but especially children. Children often don’t understand the intrusive procedures being done on them by a stranger in a mask. Some children could have a natural phobia to dentistry or other medical centers. Other children lack the attention span to allow dental treatments as well as others and some children have special needs. No matter the circumstance, there are solutions, and among them is having patients undergo sedation to complete their professional dental care. Conscious sedation is safe for your child!
Smile Reef relates the benefits of utilizing sedation dentistry for your children.
Sedation therapy is a safe and effective method to provide dental treatments for young ones that are overwhelmed and frightened of the prospect of visiting the dentist office.
There Are a Few Dental Sedation Techniques Dentists Use Including:
- Nitrous Oxide. This gas is inhaled just prior to dental treatments. Nitrous oxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that put children in a conscious sedation during their procedures. It is recommended for moderate dental phobias and is a stronger method than oral sedation. There are no lingering side effects, and the gas is worn off within a couple of hours.
- Intravenous Sedation. This method is geared for children with extreme dental phobias or for those in need of intensive dental treatments. Qualified staff members monitor heart rate, and blood pressure through the duration of the procedure and your child is always supervised. An IV imposes a benzodiazepine agent into the bloodstream just before treatment starts.
- Oral Sedatives. Oral sedatives are a prescription recommended for children with high anxiety. They are taken about 45 minutes before their appointment for routine checkups, or single cavity fillings. Children still may need a local anesthetic to avoid pain, and they are fully conscious and aware. The medication takes the edge off their anxiety to be in a relaxed state.
Below are Some of the Benefits of Sedation Dentistry for Your Child
1. Nitrous oxide not only sedates your child, but it also paralyzes the nerve endings relieving pain inflicted during dental procedures.
2. Sedation inadvertently blocks the memory of dental procedures. Over time your child may overcome their fears and will not have to endure sedation for dental treatments.
3. Children with sensitive gag reflexes can have a difficult time undergoing dental procedures. With sedation dentistry, the gag reflex is suppressed, and the dentist can use their tools efficiently. Your child will not be self conscious or embarrassed.
4. Behavioral or emotional disorders present a challenge to children, particularly those with special needs. Children can have a difficult time sitting still or allowing a dentist and their assistants to complete their work. The use of sedation dentistry can help children get the dentist care they need without undo hardships.
5. Sedation dentistry can allow the dentist to complete more dental procedures in the one visit, avoiding excessive appointments to the dentist.
Pediatric Sedation Dentistry & Dental Care in the Las Vegas Valley of Nevada
At Smile Reef, we have a passion for children and dental care. We specialize in pediatric dentistry. When the circumstances are present, our expert staff members can consult with you on using sedation dentistry to help you and your child have a more pleasant dentist experience. Call us today to schedule your appointment!