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Archive for the ‘Special Needs Dentistry’ Category

Finding an Autism & Special Needs Dentist for Your Autistic Child; Management & Comfort Tips

Smile Reef

Most parents of autistic children know that these special kids can react differently to the senses of strangers putting their hands their mouth, the strange sounds and tastes, in addition to bright lights, and occasional pain they are already sensitive to on top of the common fears of the dentist that many children share. Needless to say, the experience can be traumatic for both parents and autistic kids. With that in mind, we at Smile Reef would like to discuss some tips and suggestions that can help make the experience less traumatizing for you both.

Dentist for Autistic Child Near Me

First things first, not all dentists are comfortable, prepared, or trained to treat children with autism. Most pediatric dentists are more likely, but even then, it is best to call ahead and talk to the office about it. You can ask questions such as:
– Do you treat kids with special needs?
– How is children’s anxiety handled?
– Are parents permitted to stay with their children throughout the whole duration of the visit?
– What does the dentist do if a child’s behavior is a challenge?
– Consider their responses carefully and determine the experience they have working with special needs kids, including those with autism. Many pediatric dentists take on the extra training and continued education to work with these special kids. A major red flag, however, to a solution for managing a child’s erratic behavior and anxiety is to strap the child to a “papoose board” to keep them immobile, unless in the event of an EXTREME emergency. It may be temporary fix for the moment, but all it would do is increase the anxiety and melt downs on future dental visits.

Tips for Management & Comfort of Autistic Child in Pediatric Dental Clinic

1) Consider printing some pictures or finding a kids book regarding a trip to the dentist. Explain what goes on at the dentist and what the dentist does for their teeth. Read through the story or relate the pictures you find frequently and bring it with you when you get to the dentist to familiarize your child with the procedure.
2) Invest in some basic dental tools to let your child touch, see, and interact with them before heading to the dentist.
3) Avoid the discomforts and exploit the comforts of your child. For example, some kids detest mint flavored tooth paste and react well with a bubble gum flavored, bring their toothpaste for the dentist team to use to avoid the sensory melt downs.
4) Bring your kid’s tablet or portable device to play their favorite movies and such during the visit. A distraction might be all that is needed to get the visit completed.
5) If you fear that the lights and noises might be an issue, have your child wear sunglasses, headphones or ear plugs.
6) If the dentists allow parents to be with the kids, do not back seat drive or flinch, it will distract the dentist and give your child more anxiety. Let the dentist do their job and if you feel the dentist didn’t handle your child right, simply find a new dentist.

Special Needs Dentristy

These are just a few ideas to help you, your child, and the dentist get through the experience. You know your kid best. If you have any specific, unique questions or requests regarding your child’s individual concerns, always feel welcome to ask the dentist. Smile Reef has the training and experience to work with special needs children including those with autism, and even offer sedation dentistry if that is the best solution for your child. Call our office today to learn more.

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Autism & Dental Care Problems; Steps & Ideas for How to Get an Autistic Child to Brush Teeth

Smile Reef

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.