Special needs children often have special oral health needs. Children with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and autism may be on special diets, medications or have certain physical limitations that impact their dental health. The same can be true for children with conditions such as seizure disorders, vision and hearing impairments or learning disabilities.
Pediatric dentists are trained to care for children with special oral health care needs and finding one you trust is key to ensuring the healthiest smile possible. You and the dentist can work together to find solutions that will help keep your child comfortable during dental procedures or cleanings. This may include using a body blanket to help control involuntary movements, or allowing headphones to help distract from the noises dental instruments make.
Your dentist may also recommend supervision of brushing and flossing at home. Children under the age of 6 shouldn't swallow too much fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. If your child is unable to spit because of age or a physical limitation, your dentist can give you advise on proper use of these products.
Don't delay a visit to the dentist if you are concerned with behavioral issues or how your child may react. A pediatric dentist will give your child the attention he/she needs for a positive and successful dental experience and put you both at ease.