October 8th, 2020
Trips to the dental office can be difficult for anyone. And, children with special needs may require a greater level of care.
The good news is that a lot can be done to mitigate the chance of an unpleasant experience – all it takes is a little bit of planning and coaching to get there.
With that in mind, we put together a collection of useful approaches that will help you and your child navigate your first, or next, dental visit.
After the arrival of your child’s first tooth, you should already be on the docket for a visit to the dentist. Since autism spectrum disorders don’t commonly manifest until around the age of three, it is very important that you establish a dental home for your child with a dentist by age one. This way if signs of autism spectrum are noted your child would already have an established relationship with a caring dental professional.
Avoiding the dentist until later in a child’s development, particularly until after problems arise (like cavities) can be problematic. Initiating the process of familiarization with the dentist at an early age reduces dental anxiety among all children, so go early.
You’re likely already familiar with the Autism Speaks website, and the wealth of supportive material regarding autism and your child.
You may not have noticed, though, their superb Dental Toolkit which features free iTunes downloadable books for kids, videos, and even materials you can share with your dentist about working with your child.
The standout item on the site, though, is a highly visual 34-page booklet created in partnership with the National Museum of Dentistry that covers everything from how to teach good oral hygiene to how to prepare for your routine dental visits.
Learn from the Doctor's Perspective
Your dentist may have more experience with special needs children than you realize. The best way to go about preparing for your visit is to speak with the doctor directly and ask what to expect.
The Dental Professionals’ Tool Kit will help you see inside that instruction and arm you with meaningful advice that isn’t always covered in offerings to parents. Anyone can download the material, dentist or not, so have a look-see!
Find a Doctor who Specializes
Finally, should you feel more comfortable doing so, seek out a dentist who specializes in dealing with children with autism.
Pediatric dentists pursue additional training that helps them cater to autistic patients. Such training is structured around reducing stress and making children feel comfortable both inside the dental office and at home.
Visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for you or your child. Hopefully the above information provides some direction for further exploration.
All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
First, all of our forms are found online, where you can complete them from the comfort of your home. So there is no waiting when you arrive. Second, the colors on the walls and the amenities that we offer were thoughtfully chosen to give your child a warm and comfortable ambiance. Third, we offer private patient rooms for patient care. Fourth, we have an amazing staff members who will guide you if you have any questions about the process of scheduling an appointment to providing individual patient care.
Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.
Find out how we are protecting our patients and our staff with our improved safety protocol.
Get acquainted with us by watching our practice video and find out what we do.
Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.
Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD). He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.