How Pediatric Dentists Are Trained to Care for Children with Special Needs
by Dr. Steven DeLisle, board certified Dentist Anesthesiologist
August 17th, 2018
Finding the right dentist for your child can be a challenge, especially if your child has special needs. After all, the effects of a single negative experience can be difficult to undo. Fortunately, today’s leading pediatric dentists are trained to care for children with ASD and special needs.
Pediatric dentists understand that your child may require a diet or medication that has a negative impact on her dental health, thus causing her serious oral problems. Your child may also have physical difficulties with practicing healthy oral care habits at home. Furthermore, your child may struggle with the sights, sounds, and smells of the dental office –– another concern that pediatric dentists are sensitive to.
Read on to learn more about what you should expect from a well-trained pediatric dentist to do when working with your child.
To become a pediatric dentist, a dentist must complete at least two years of advanced training after dental school. Part of this specialized education focuses on caring for young people who have special needs. In fact, pediatric dentists are typically the first choice of dentist even among adults who have special needs, too, due to their expertise.
Pediatric Dentists Employ the Teaching Method
Child-friendly dentists use the teach-show-do method when caring for children who have unique needs. This means your child’s dentist will explain to her all of the steps involved in the cleaning or treatment process.
The dentist will start by explaining the steps in a clear manner that your child can understand. Then, the dentist will physically show your child how he or she will use certain instruments or equipment in the dental operatory. Finally, the dentist will work on your child, ensuring her comfort each step of the way.
Parent Involvement and Extra Care
Pediatric dentists generally value parental involvement during your child’s dental appointments. What does this mean for you? You can feel free to sit with your child in her treatment area and play a role in the treatment or cleaning process to make your child more comfortable.
Sedation or protective stabilization may also benefit your child if she is especially agitated during the appointment. The right dentist will employ his or her in-depth knowledge of anesthesia, behavior management, and sedation techniques to preserve your child’s physical and emotional well-being during all stages of the dental appointment.
Design of the Dentist’s Office
Many pediatric dentists’ offices will feature designs that make them easy for young people to access. In addition, you can expect your child to find a fun play area featuring games, books, and toys so that she can have a positive, calming experience prior to her dental appointment.
Give Your Child a Healthy Smile
Despite the challenges associated with taking your child to the dentist, it is crucial to maintaining her oral health. Take advantage of your pediatric dentist’s expertise to make sure that your child has positive dental experiences for many years to come. This will help your child maintain a healthy smile well into adulthood.
Author Bio: Dr. Steven DeLisle is a pediatric dentist who specializes in sedation dentistry and has experience treating children with special needs. He is the founder of Children’s Dentistry in Las Vegas, one of the fastest growing pediatric dental practices in the country.