Raising an autistic child can be challenging, especially when you have to take him or her to the dentist. Unfortunately, kids with autism and other types of special needs need dentistry services just as much as other kids, which means you will have to find a way to handle this task. One option to consider is finding a pediatric dentist that offers various types of sedation.
What Is Sedation?
Sedation is a common practice in dentistry, and it is not only used for kids with special needs. Dentists use sedation for kids without special needs and for adults, and it is commonly needed by people with any level of dental fear.
Sedation helps a person relax. Depending on the amount and type of sedation, the person could even fall asleep during a procedure. Sedation can be extremely beneficial for an autistic child too. It will help the child sit still during a procedure, and this will allow the dentist to complete the necessary tasks.
Nitrous oxide is one form of minimal sedation, but it requires wearing a nose piece. This nose piece delivers the gas to the child and helps him or her relax. Because the child might not understand or enjoy what this nose piece is, he or she may remove the piece. This would stop the sedation from working. One option is to ask the dentist if you can take home a nose piece prior to having work done. Autistic children tend to do handle situations better when they are familiar with them. By allowing the child to take the nose piece home, he or she may be able to get accustomed to it, which could help the situation go smoother. If not, your dentist may suggest using oral sedation.
Oral sedation involves giving the child a pill or medicine before the appointment. By the time you arrive with your child, he or she may already feel somewhat relaxed and calm, and the dentist can then try using the nitrous oxide.
Are There Other Strategies That May Help?
Many dentists offer treatment for children with special needs; however, the dentist you choose may recommend using happy visits to help the child get used to the clinic. A happy visit involves taking your child to the dentist just for fun and educational purposes.
During a happy visit, your child may get to sit in a dental chair, watch a movie about dentistry, or play with toys. The child will also get a chance to meet the dentist and staff, and the child may get to take a tour of the facility.
Your child may need to have several happy visits before he or she is ready to have teeth cleaning or other services completed, especially with autistic children. Autistic children tend to handle things better when they are in familiar places. The more you take your child to the clinic, the more acquainted your child will become with the office.
Good oral care is important for everyone, including autistic children. There are dentists that are trained to work with children that have special needs, and you may want to look for one to take your child to. If you're looking for a family dentist in your area, visit Cassity, Jessica DDS.