Dental Care for Special Needs Children

Special needs children often have special oral health needs as well. Children with developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism, may be on certain diets or medications that can have a negative impact on their oral health. Sometimes these disabilities can also cause physical limitations that make it difficult to brush and floss properly. The same can be true for children with conditions such as seizure disorders, vision and hearing impairments, or learning disabilities.

Pediatric dentists are trained to care for children with special needs. That’s why finding one you trust is key to ensuring your child maintains the healthiest smile possible. You and the dentist can work together to find solutions that will help keep your child comfortable during dental procedures or cleanings. This may include using a body blanket to help control involuntary movements, or allowing headphones to help distract from the potentially scary noises dental instruments make.

Your dentist may also recommend that you supervise brushing and flossing at home. Children under age 6 shouldn’t swallow too much fluoride toothpaste or mouthrinse, so if your child is unable to spit because of age or a physical disability, your dentist can give you advice on proper use of fluoride products.

Whatever you do, don’t avoid going to the dentist because you’re concerned about behavioral issues or how your child may react. A pediatric dentist will understand your child needs some extra attention and care and will be happy to help put you both at ease.1



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