Going to the dentist should be a positive experience for everyone, regardless of whatever their individual needs may be. Special physical needs or conditions such as autism and asberger’s syndrome can present additional barriers to be overcome between the patient and experienced dental team. There are a few things parents can do for their child before the visit to the dentist to help improve the overall experience.
Let the dental team know how the child communicates best, and phrases or actions to use (or not use.) If your child is non-verbal, then talk to the office about taking pictures of their facility to laminate and make a flip book for your child to use at the time of the appointment. The pictures and words can familiarize the child with what will happen before they arrive, especially if you’ve gotten a step-by-step outline of the appointment from your office. For instance, first pictures of the teeth will be taken, and a photo of a child sitting in the x-ray chair would be appropriate.
Schedule appointments first thing in the morning, and eat a balanced breakfast that improves self-regulation. An early appointment usually means children are well-rested from the night before. Also, focusing on the appropriate foods that help your child self-regulate can keep them focused better. For some children, this means eating a higher-protein meal before their appointment. Just remember not to keep it very heavy, especially if laughing gas will be used.
Remember that you’re not in your dentist’s way. Parents understand their children’s special needs better than anyone else. You’re an important part of the dental team when it comes to getting the best oral health care for your child.
Posted on behalf of David Kurtzman
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