Working With The Right Dentist

Working With The Right Dentist

Dental Health And Autism | What Parents Need To Know

Pamela Watkins

Proper oral health is important for everyone, but it can be especially challenging for those on the autism spectrum (ASD). Many individuals with autism have Sensory Processing Disorder, which can make the sights, smells, and sounds of a dental visit overwhelming. In addition, many people with autism have difficulty tolerating tactile sensations, making it difficult for them to sit still for an extended period of time. As a result, parents of children with autism struggle with dental appointments, and some even avoid taking their children to the dentist altogether.

However, avoiding the dentist can lead to serious problems down the road. The Autism Speaks website states that "oral health is a very important component of healthy daily living" but concedes that many patients with autism find it "challenging."

In addition, people with autism are more likely to grind their teeth, which can lead to tooth wear and other problems.

What Can Parents Do?

If you're the parent of a child with autism, there are steps you can take to make dental visits more successful, including:

  • Experience. The first step is to find a dentist who is experienced in treating patients with ASD. Many dentists now receive training in how to best care for patients with ASD, so don't hesitate to ask around or call your local dental society for recommendations.
  • Meeting. It is perfectly acceptable to schedule a 'meet-and-greet' with a new dental office before your first appointment. This will allow your child to meet the dentist and staff in a low-pressure environment. During this visit, you can also explain what your child likes and dislikes and provide any other information that will be helpful in making the experience as positive as possible.
  • Sensitivities. At the appointment itself, be sure to let the staff know if your child has any sensitivities or if certain techniques work better than others in getting your child to cooperate. Some children do better when they are allowed to sit on their parent's lap during the exam, while others prefer to sit in their own chair next to their parent. If your child does become agitated or disruptive during the appointment, don't hesitate to take a break. The most important thing is that your child remains calm and relaxed throughout the process.

Dental visits can be successful for both children with ASD and their families. With some advance planning and preparation, you can help ensure that your child has a positive experience at the dentist's office and maintains good oral health. For more information, contact a children's dentist near you.


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About Me
Working With The Right Dentist

When you start shopping around for dental care, it can be hard to know who to work with. Over the years, I have gone to several different dentists, and some of my experiences have been better than others. I decided to create a website to help other people to learn more about different aspects of dental care, so that you have a better idea of what you might be looking for. It can be intimidating to choose a dentist, but by knowing what you need, you might be able to look forward to your next dental check up and receive more customized care.