Going to the dentist can be difficult for any child, but for children with special needs, it can be particularly challenging. Finding the right dentist can help to make your child feel more comfortable while ensuring he or she gets the care needed. Here are a few things to ask when looking for a dentist to care for your special needs child.
What Is Your Treatment Approach?
Approaching treatment for special needs children can be different than it is for other patients. Ask your new dentist what his or her approach is to ensure your child is comfortable while the work is being performed. Some dentists may offer sedation dentistry, which can help to allow the dentist to do the work necessary while keeping your child safe. Sedation dentistry comes in a variety of forms, from I.V. sedation performed at a local hospital or outpatient surgery center, to inhaled minimal sedation that keeps your child awake but calm. Other dentists may use mild forms of restraints during dental procedures to help maintain compliance. Be sure you know what the approach is and feel comfortable with it before proceeding with your child's first appointment.
How Can You Adapt Your Exam Rooms?
The exam rooms at the dentist's office should be comfortable and accessible for your child. If he or she is in a wheelchair, you'll want to make sure the rooms are large enough for your child to enter and exit comfortably, and you'll also want to make sure the exam chair is accessible as well. For children with autism or sensory issues, be sure that you can help to control the amount of sensory stimulation in the room. This might include turning the lights down, keeping the volume low on in-office music systems, or providing access to a television. Consider asking for a tour of the office without your child present so you can determine what might cause a sensory issue for him or her.
What Type Of Experience Do You Have With Special Needs Children?
Many pediatric dentists have some type of experience with special needs children, but you may want to find one with experience treating children with the same conditions as your own. Ask about what type of experience he or she has had, and follow up by asking how the dentist has overcome challenges presented by certain conditions. For example, the dentist may have a certain way of discussing procedures with children who are developmentally disabled so they understand what will happen at each appointment. He or she may also be able to help nonverbal children to communicate any pain or discomfort they are having. Knowing how much experience your pediatric dentist has with children like yours can help you and your little one to feel more comfortable.
As the parent of a special needs child, you are his or her best advocate. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions before your child sits in the exam chair. Once you and your child decide on a dentist, you can begin to build a long-term relationship dedicated to caring for your child's oral healthcare needs. Contact a company like Sunnyside Dentistry for Children-David E Doyle, DDS to get started.