Special Needs Dentistry for Children: What to Expect

Children with disabilities or special needs sometimes require certain accommodations when it comes to their dental care. If you are a parent of a child with a disability, it is important to find a pediatric dentist who is trained to work with all children regardless of physical and mental ability. 

If you’re taking your child to the dentist for the first time, or to a new dentist, you may be wondering what to expect. Here’s what you can and should expect when it comes to dental care for your child. 

Expect an Initial Consultation 

Before dental care is administered, it is often best to have a consultation. This gives you and your child an opportunity to meet the dentist and their dental care team in a no pressure situation. The first consultation allows your child to get used to the office environment and allows you to have an opportunity to ask questions and have your questions answered. Together we can determine if this is the best place for your child to receive dental care. 

Expect Your Child To Be Treated With Respect 

When it comes to your child, you should expect nothing less than the utmost respect, and the same goes for you. Choose a dentist who will respect your child’s feelings and boundaries, someone who won’t talk down to them because of their disability. The patient should be the main focus of the visit. Children, even those with disabilities, appreciate being talked to, not talked about. 

Expect Your Child To Be Treated With Compassion 

Children deserve caring and compassion, regardless of ability. Choose a dentist who is kind and understanding of the specific needs your child requires. Patience is extremely important when working with children with disabilities. Many dental offices will even schedule a longer appointment time to give your child the special care and patience they need. 

Expect Your Child’s Dental Care Team To Know Their Needs 

Does your child need strict adherence to a routine? Do they need to see the same dental hygienist at each visit to feel secure and comfortable? These are reasonable expectations that can be accommodated in most cases. Changes in staff are to be expected over time, but whenever possible the dental team working with your child will remain the same. This allows the dentist and dental team to provide specialized care that is unique to the specific needs of the patient. 

Expect To Be Offered Sedation Options 

In some cases children with disabilities are not able to receive dental care while fully aware. Children may be fearful, anxious, or simply unable to sit still long enough for dental cleanings or procedures. Sedation options may be offered to help your child relax enough to get the dental care they need. Just because your dentist offers sedation doesn’t mean you have to go with that option, but know that it is available and it may help things go more smoothly in certain circumstances. 

Andover Pediatric Dentistry provides pediatric dentistry services for children from infancy through adolescence in 2 convenient locations.