For children with autism or other sensory issues, new environments and experiences can be overwhelming for them. But as a parent you know there are certain things, like dental cleanings, that still need to happen. The thought of having to deal with outbursts and challenging behavior might make you anxious and hesitant. Here are some tips from our team at OHP that you can do to help calm nerves and get everyone ready for a dental visit.
Dental care tips for kids with autism and other sensory issues
- Before the visit, read books aloud about dental visits like The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Daniel Goes to the Dentist (Daniel Tiger) and Going to the Dentist.
- Try a weighted x-ray vest during clinic visits – the weight often calms kids.
- Introduce new things one at a time, slowly and methodically to conquer fears.
- Use the “tell-show-do” method when trying new things.
- Let the child feel the toothbrush, toothpaste and non-sharp instruments before treatment begins.
- Try headphones during a clinic visit if sounds bother your child.
- Exercise patience. It can be “two steps forward and three steps back” between dental visits.
- Consider visiting the dentist for cleanings more often (every three months) in order for the child to become more familiar and comfortable with tastes, textures, temperatures, lighting, etc. during dental visits.
- Try an electronic toothbrush at home, a real game-changer for many kids as the vibrations prepare them for the sensation of having dental instruments in their mouth and can help with dexterity issues.
Oral Health Partnership and treating kids with special needs
Our team at OHP has experience working with differently-abled kids. We will patiently work with kids to conquer fears one by one and get them comfortable with dental visits. It is very important to be honest and forthcoming with information about your kids so we can make the best plan for their dental care.
We will work with you and your kids to get them the care they need. We all know that healthy kids create happy kids!