Dental care for special needs children

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Visiting the Dentist: keeping the Anxiety levels to a Minimum

Only a minority of us truly relish the prospect of paying a visit to the dentist and if your child has special needs those anxiety levels that are perfectly normal for many of us can often increase noticeably.

Preparing your child for what to expect can help to calm them and will help to ensure that what can be a stressful situation for both of you has the best chance of a positive outcome and an experience that won’t be etched in their memory.

Dental problems common in down syndrome patients

The ideal scenario is to find a dentist that you can work with and is understanding of the specific issues that certain types of special needs patients have and the treatments that they are likely to need.

For example, children with down syndrome often see their baby and permanent teeth appearing at a later point than the standard timeframe. Delayed eruption is a classic example of the sort of common dental problems that arise and need to be addressed with a child who has down syndrome.

Understanding what is happening

It can certainly be the case that a child with down syndrome will have a raised level of fear about going to the dentist as they are not always able to understand what is happening.

You will know what your child is like around others and it could be that they are particularly averse to someone they don’t know trying to put their hand inside their mouth, especially when there is some sort of tool attached as well.

This is why it is so important to prepare your child for the visit to the dentist and calm them as much as possible by explaining what is likely to be happening and why the dentist needs to touch them and look inside their mouth.

Talk to your dentist about sedation

It is a good idea to talk to your dentist about the medical history of your child and about any particular issues that might prevent them from receiving the treatment they need.

It is often the case that patients with special needs and anyone with an unduly high level of anxiety will need to be sedated in order for the dentist to carry out their work. Building a relationship with your dentist will help everyone cope with the situation and by getting to know what your child will be able to cope with and when sedation is a sensible option, this should help to produce a positive outcome.

A good time for treatment

You will know how well your child copes with certain times of the day and if they are at their best during the morning it would be better to think about booking a dental appointment that coincides with a period of the day that they are at their best and least likely to get stressed.

If your child tires easily or is likely to spend the day worrying about the visit to the dentist it makes a lot of sense to work around when you think the optimum time for taking them is likely to be.

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