Starting preventive dentistry early is particularly important for the special needs child. If dental care is started early and followed conscientiously, every child can enjoy a healthy smile.
Unlike many of the health conditions faced by patients with special needs, dental disease is preventable. A special needs child will benefit from the preventive approach recommended for all children – effective brushing and flossing, limited snacking, adequate fluoride, sealants and regular visits with a local dentist.
Pediatric dentists are the dental professionals of choice for children with special needs. Their education as specialists focuses on care for children including those with special needs. They are a kids dentist that provide dental health services for medically compromised or mentally delayed children
Pediatric dentists are not just for children. As a result of their experience and expertise in helping patients with special needs, they are often the best choice for the dental care of adults with special needs as well. Some of the more common conditions that require special care in dentistry include Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, epileptic or seizure disorders, vision and hearing impairments, cleft lip/palate and other craniofacial conditions, and learning and developmental disabilities.
As a parent of a child with special needs, you may have concerns about your child’s tolerance of a dental visit. Whatever your concerns, do not postpone preventive dentistry for your child. Pediatric dentists understand that each child is unique and may need extra care to feel comfortable during dental treatment. For example, one child might do great with positive communication, another might benefit from a body blanket to help control involuntary movements, and still another might need mild sedation to feel relaxed during treatment. Depending on your child's medical history may require other types of sedation dentistry such as iv sedation or treatment under general anesthesia at a Children's hospital. Pediatric dentists stand ready with a variety of possible approaches; you can help select the approach that is best for the specific health and behavioral needs of your child.
What parents should watch for:
Many people with physical or developmental disabilities need someone to help them with regular preventive oral care. Here are some helpful tips: