Pediatric dentistry is an area of dentistry that focuses on the oral health of children. Starting good dental hygiene habits early in life is important. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, more than 50% of children under the age of nine have had at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and…
Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Children
Pediatric dentistry provides a young patient with a healthy attitude toward dentists and dental self-care. For this reason, parents should take extra steps to find a dentist that will create a good relationship with the child. Childhood experiences with the dentist determine whether a patient will go for regular checkups or will go to the dentist as a last resort as an adult. The same applies to special needs children. They too need dental care from an early age. Kids with special needs often require extra care.
Why special needs children need pediatric dentistry
‘Special needs’ is a term that covers a wide range of medical conditions, so a pediatric dentist will use different approaches for different types of special needs. Here are some broad categories of special needs.
1. Special needs caused by physical conditions
A child could have a congenital defect of the jaw, making it hard for them to maintain oral health. Without pediatric dentistry, the child remains at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Some children live with defects like a cleft palate. Such patients need specialized care from an early age. Only a pediatric dentist can walk with a child as these young patients go through treatment and developmental milestones.
2. A medical condition that causes sensitivity in the oral cavity
Child with Down syndrome are likely to have sensitive gums, teeth that are slow to erupt and smaller-than-normal teeth. These conditions make it a challenge for the child to clean their mouth, which could lead to dental problems. The child will need a pediatric dentist who will teach them how to take care of their mouth in a way that causes minimal discomfort. They will also need specialized treatment to correct the congenital problems that come with this condition.
3. Emotional and/or behavioral challenges
A child could also have emotional needs that make it hard for them to deal with new people, new environments or challenging situations. Such patients need to get dental care from a pediatric dentist that understands them and is ready to meet all needs.
How a pediatric dentist helps special needs children
Many people, whether children or adults, get nervous at the thought of sitting in a dentist’s chair. That is why a major aim of pediatric dentistry is to put children at ease. Here is how a pediatric dental practice takes care of special needs children:
- They have waiting rooms that are also play areas, full of toys and books. The friendly spaces help young patients to relax
- A dentist will encourage parents to bring the child for a play visit, just so the child can get used to the new environment, the staff and the dentist
- The dentist will advise parents to come in for follow-up visits so that the child can explore the treatment area and the different tools that the dentist uses
- For patients that are super nervous in the dentist’s chair, the dentist may offer sedation as a way to keep the child calm
Your dentist will take good care of your child
Not every dentist or dental practice can do a good job of treating special needs children. The good news is that your dentist’s practice near Richmond is equipped to take care of your special needs child. Call your dentist and set up an appointment today.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Richmond, TX.
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