For parents who have a child on the autistic spectrum, there are so many parts of life that can cause difficulty. Even things that can be routine or pleasant for neurotypical children can cause sensory issues for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD_. A simple trip to the playground can be stressful for a child with autism due to the sensory overload of the playground equipment and the other children who are playing. Going to the movies can cause great anxiety in a child with autism due to the loud sound system and flashy special effects. If your child has autism, you know the triggers that they have, and you do everything you can to mitigate these instances so your child can be comfortable and cope.
Although a trip to the dentist can cause most children to feel a bit anxious, a trip to the dentist for kids with autism can be traumatic in a much different way. There are many different sounds, sights, and smells in a dentist office that can cause them great difficulty. The sound of dental equipment, the bright lights, and strangers all hovering in close proximity could cause your child to stim, scream, or even try to escape from the chair. For many parents, autism and dental care don’t seem to mix.
However, your child’s experience at the dentist does not have to be a bad one. In fact, there are pediatric dentists for kids with autism who are ready, willing, and able to help you. We’ve put together a few tips that can help you choose the perfect provider for your child.
1.Choose A Pediatric Dentist With A Kid-friendly Office
One of the many differences between a regular dentists office and the office of a pediatric dentist is the layout of the waiting room and the office itself. In a standard dentist office waiting room, you’ll find a few chairs along with some old magazines scattered around. Although this is suitable for adults, a child with autism will quickly lose interest in an office like this. So what ends up happening? They could begin to wander, and may even try to bolt out of the doors!
At a pediatric dentist like Children’s Dentistry, you’ll find a waiting room that is engaging to children, particularly to children with autism. There are areas for group or independent play, in addition to videos and games. Although each of Children’s Dentistry’s ten locations is different, they all have one purpose: to keep your child active and happy as they wait for their turn in the chair.
2.Choose A Pediatric Dentist Who Utilizes Differing Forms Of Sedation
There’s a saying about autism that’s wise to keep in mind: “If you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met one child with autism.” What does that mean? Autistic children are unique. What soothes one child may not be relaxing to another, and what triggers one may not necessarily trigger another. Each child with ASD has to be treated as a unique individual, and a dentist for kids with autism must understand this.
For many children with special needs like autism receiving dental care, the best way to have a successful outcome at the dentist requires utilizing some form of sedation. Children’s Dentistry offers several types of sedation to help your child relax. These options include the use of nitrous oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”), oral medications, and medications via IV. Each of these methods allows the child to relax while they remain conscious.
For some, a trip to the dentist for kids with autism would be best accomplished by general anesthesia. This means that your child will be unconscious while work is being done in their mouth. This will keep your child from fighting or flailing in the chair out of fear, which will keep them safer. It will also allow them to wake up at the end of the visit with no recollection of what occurred. For some parents with children on the spectrum, this is the most desirable option.
3.Choose A Pediatric Dentist Who Has Experience With Asd
Although the public generally understands autism better now than even just a few years ago, there is still a gap of understanding of autism by some dental care professionals. You know your child better than anyone in the world, and you want to make sure they’re cared for by the best dentist for kids with autism.
If you’re looking for recommendations for pediatric dentists, check with your child’s social worker, SPED coordinator, or any therapists who may work with them. You can also find resources from Autism Speaks that can be of assistance.
Before making the final choice of a dentist for kids with autism, call their office and ask about their experience with treating children with autism. Children’s Dentistry has treated thousands of children with special needs such as autism, Cerebral Palsy, and Down Syndrome over the years, and we’d be glad to have a conversation with you if you contact us.
Children’s Dentistry Special Needs Scholarship
At Children’s Dentistry, we understand how difficult it can be for a parent to find a dentist for kids with autism. We love helping families that have children with special needs, which is why we created our Special Needs Scholarship. For patients that have a diagnosis of Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, or any other intellectual disability, we offer a $1,000 scholarship towards dental care.
The combination of autism and dental care can be stressful enough for your family, and we want to do what we can to make your child’s dental care as simple as possible. For more information about how we can help, contact us today, and one of our team members will help you submit your request.