We understand that it is challenging to balance the care requirements of your child with special needs. Parents of children with special needs are verifiable masters at juggling and contingency plans. More urgent medical needs may need to take priority over dental care at times. So it’s not surprising that according to research, children with special needs are more prone to dental issues compared to their peers without special needs.
Our dentists underwent specialist training to provide dental care to children and are the local experts at providing care to those with special needs. Here are our tips:
Find a Dentist that is a good fit for your child
Some dental offices are better equipped for the care of children with special needs; pediatric dentists have undergone additional training to give them strategies that may be helpful for your child. Seek these dentists out and collaborate with them to develop a strategy that will work for your child.
Our office has implemented strategies to make patients that may respond negatively to traditional sensory experiences in a dental office feel more comfortable. We use a lot of tell-show-do, and provide patients with “bite-sized” appointments that are easier to manage. We invest a lot of time at the beginning of the care relationship getting the patients and their parents accustomed to the office. We understand that dental appointments can be challenging for many children. We try our best to evaluate each patient’s individual needs and provide care in both group and private settings, with sedation or in the hospital setting, depending on what is best for your child. Your child’s comfort and safety are our top priority.
Project a positive attitude.
If you’re scared of the dentist, your child is likely to sense that and be scared too. Try to keep your own fears or anxieties private, and display a positive attitude during your child’s appointments. As a parent, you are a powerful role model and part of your child’s care team. If you treat dental hygiene both at home and at the dentist as matter-of-fact parts of everyone’s life, your child is more likely to adopt the same attitude.
Children love to imitate the adults in their lives. Show them that you’re also doing what you want them to do: eat healthy food, brush and floss. Maybe even bring them with you when you visit your dentist, and let them see you trusting the dentist and having fun on the visit!
Establish a routine.
Familiarity and habit are important to children. Think of the healthy habits you want to build, and start incorporating them into your days.
This includes dental visits, brushing, and flossing. Be consistent.
Keep a journal of what works–toothbrush types, toothpaste flavors, where they like to brush– and what doesn’t. Talk to your dentist if anything becomes an issue.
Make sure that you try to schedule dental visits when your child is most likely to accept treatment. Many young children are at their best in the morning, before they have been tired out by the other challenges of the day. Be aware of your child’s natural tendencies and try to schedule visits at times that they are likely to be receptive.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan has specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. We have the ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs as we have treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.