If you’re raising a child with autism, your experience as a parent is marked by a constantly evolving learning curve. How can you facilitate your child’s mental needs while still fulfilling their essential physical needs? For many parents, trips to the pediatric dentist best represent this challenge. If you’re hoping to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy while safeguarding their mental and emotional well-being, use the following tips.
3 Tips to Help Children With Autism With Dental Appointments
1. Prepare Them in Advance
For many children, first visits to the dentist trigger a fear of the unknown. For those with autism, these fears may be even more intense.
Luckily, you can mitigate their apprehension by showing them what to expect. Search online for pictures of the dentist office to show them. Use a children’s book to depict the experience to your little one. Once they're familiar with the tools, the reclining chair, and the light overhead, they’ll be less likely to fear the office in person.
2. Avoid Sensory Triggers
All children have pet peeves, but for those with autism, some dislikes can trigger emotional pain. Often, all it takes is a sensory stimulant, such as a certain sight or smell.
For example, if your little one is averse to mint flavors, bring their fruit-flavored toothpaste to the appointment. If you think they might be frightened by the sound of a nearby cavity filling, pack earplugs in your purse or pocket.
3. Talk to the Dentist
Before the appointment, ask the receptionist if you can speak to the pediatric dentist about your child with autism. You can clue them in to your child’s specific needs, such as being uncomfortable with bright lights. They might be able to offer solutions, such as cool sunglasses or a personal TV for watching cartoons during the cleaning. They might also be willing to avoid medical talk in front of your child and call you with the results later on.
If you’re looking for a compassionate pediatric dentist who will happily accommodate your child with autism, make an appointment at Discovery Dental of Eagle River, AK. They've brightened smiles since 2013, whether a child needs a cleaning or a laser frenectomy. To learn more about their wide array of services, visit the website. Call (907) 622-5437 to arrange for an appointment.