A baby root canal might be needed to save a child's tooth if it is infected or damaged. While the procedure may be anxiety-inducing for parents, it is important to know that pediatric dentists would not recommend it unless it was absolutely necessary. Additionally, the current technology allows pediatric dentists to perform baby root canals…
Kids Dentist Appointment Considerations for the Special Needs Child
Oral health is an important part of overall health, and taking a child to a kids dentist is an integral part of maintaining good health. Some children may feel anxiety or discomfort at the thought of going to the dentist’s office. It can be particularly difficult for a child with special needs. There are several steps that can to help a child feel more comfortable with a routine visit to the dentist.
Preparing beforehand can make a big difference in a child’s dental experience. To do this effectively, the child’s specific needs should be addressed.
Communicate with the office
According to the American Dental Association, the kids dentist office should know about any special need considerations in advance. This way, the office can ensure the proper staff on hand and can have any necessary special equipment or tools ready. It can also provide an opportunity to talk to the office about what things might calm the child down or help with other challenges that may arise.
Bring items that can help distract the child
Sometimes, a helpful tactic is to find a way to distract the child from the noise and other overstimulating sensations that may be experienced during the visit. This can be particularly true for children with a sensory processing disorder. If the child has a favorite movie or show, then having that video ready to go on a phone or tablet may be a good idea. Another option is something that keeps the child’s hands busy. A stress ball or clay can be a great way for kids to use their hands to release tension.
Consider a weighted blanket
Some children with special needs find comfort with a weighted blanket on top of them. This can help them feel more in control of the situation, which can increase the child’s feeling of wellbeing. Healthline recommends that a weighted blanket be approximately 10% of the child’s body weight.
Communicate with the child
If the child is able, communicating what is going to happen in advance can help relieve some stress, as many children express anxiety in unknown situations. However, too much knowledge can make things worse or scarier for some children, so it is important to consider the child’s individual needs.
In most cases, children with special needs should not be punished for negative behavior during a visit to the kids dentist. Positive reinforcement, however, can be a great tool for these children. Whether it is a trip to the store for a favorite treat, a special sticker or a fun activity, this can give the child something to look forward to and may encourage cooperation during the appointment.
Children with special needs may face special challenges when visiting the dentist’s office. Things like good communication, distractions and positive reinforcement can help improve the child’s experience. Consider the child’s specific needs to help make it as pleasant of a visit as possible.
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