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Rishita Jaju, DMD
5 Tips For Selecting a Pediatric Dentist For Your Special Needs Child
Smile Wonders
. https://www.smilewonders.com/

5 Tips For Selecting a Pediatric Dentist For Your Special Needs Child

5 Tips For Selecting a Pediatric Dentist For Your Special Needs Child

Finding a good pediatric dentist takes research for any child, but when you’re looking for a dentist for a child with differing abilities and some special needs, that decision is even more important!

Step 1: Read reviews and websites and gather as much information beforehand as possible: Not only can you ask friends and family about good pediatric dentists for special needs children, but other families dealing with similar challenges, local special needs programs, and community-based resources. Once you have some names, you can narrow down the field further or prioritize choices by doing some online research. 

When searching, it can be crucial that you take some steps to find a good fit. Not every dental practice has the experience, skill, and knowledge to work with children, let alone children that need advanced training, understanding and experience. Finding the right dentist for a special needs child will increase your chances of success—and helps set your child up for success.

Step 2: Interview Potential Dentistry Teams before setting an appointment: A good pediatric dental office that has experience caring for children with special needs will be happy to talk with parents and create a plan for a successful visit. During your conversation, ask some questions: How do you handle sensory issues? Is your practice confident in handling special needs children? Why? Are parents allowed to be present during exams? Are you flexible with appointments so my child can be there when they are at their best? How do you maintain consistency for special needs children?

Step 3: Address Any Potential Issues: Children with special needs may have very specific issues. Talk to your prospective dentist about what those issues may be. For example, many autistic children have sensory challenges. They may not like certain movements or parts of their bodies being touched or moved in a certain way. A dentist working with special needs children will benefit from having as much information as possible.

Step 4: Build Trust with Easier Visits First: If possible, work your way up to more intensive dental visits. Have a few quick and easy visits where trust is built between your child and the dentist. It will also allow your child to get used to the setting and what happens there.

Step 5: Seek Communication Skills. The whole team for a special needs child should have excellent communication skills. They will signal what they are about to do and communicate it effectively. They will explain what they are about to do before they do it. Let your child touch a tool or show an action beforehand. Follow up with performing the action they’ve explained. 

Preparing For Your Dental Visit. There are things you can do at home or at your occupational therapists before a dental visit, like teach them to open their mouth wide and hold it open or sit in a reclining chair. By doing your research, asking the right questions, and preparing, you can increase your chances of finding the ideal dentist for your special needs child and make the experience successful.

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