Dental health is imperative for everyone, but for non-verbal children, parents everywhere might have a hard time instilling these crucial habits. Even those parents whose children only exhibit moderate or light symptoms of being on the spectrum can find visiting the dentist difficult, which is why if you have an autistic child it is best to follow this guide today.
Importance of Dental Health
Dental health is critical in children and adults. Healthy teeth indicate good health, but more importantly, the saliva acts as a defence against bacteria. Brushing too little or brushing too hard can complicate the process and result in an abundance of bacteria that impacts your health or your gums.
How to Make the Dentist Visit Easier for Your Autistic Child
The best way to make a dentist visit easier for your autistic child is to find a practice that specializes in autistic patients or who has experience in dealing with autism first hand. It is okay to shop around for dentists until you find someone who has successfully dealt with autistic patients as well. Autism is a spectrum, after all, and someone who is highly-functioning is different to deal with than someone who is non-verbal. You want your child to feel safe and respected, so don’t be afraid to say no to a dentist if they aren’t the right fit.
Inform Your Dentist Ahead of Time
You will also want to consult them beforehand to go through your child’s needs in advance and to let the dentist know what they can and cannot do. You will both need to work together to find a suitable compromise. It might mean going through the checkup in stages; it might mean turning down the lights or narrating every step.
Work With an Occupational Therapist to Help Instill Good Hygiene
Oral health doesn’t begin and end with a dentist, so it is essential to work with an occupational therapist to instill dental habits into your child. Ongoing flossing and teeth brushing can minimize intrusive procedures at the dentist, after all, and therefore reduce the stress your child might feel when going in for a checkup. Cleaning teeth is, after all, far more pleasant than getting a cavity filled in.
What to Do If Something Goes Wrong
If something does go wrong, it is best to stay calm. Find no-win-no-fee dental negligence solicitors to cover your case and get financial compensation, and then work with a therapist and your child to find a way to overcome their trauma. You cannot ignore the dentist forever, and finding a way to get your child to trust the dentist again is critical.
Good habits and dental visits are a part of life, but for children who have advanced needs who you go to is imperative. Finding a dentist who has experience in providing care for an autistic patient is vital, but so too is developing healthy habits at home and making the dentist’s office a place that is familiar and safe for them to return to.
Anna Marikar, mum of four and seasoned blogger, has spent over a decade sharing her parenting journey and passion for kid-friendly crafts and free printables.
Her easy-to-follow craft ideas and practical parenting advice have transformed In The Playroom into a cherished resource for parents.