As many of our patients’ parents and caretakers know, a person with Autism may or may not fit into the neat description of their medical diagnosis. Every one presents different challenges that require time, expertise and strategy, and historically many dental offices just were not prepared to treat their special needs. Parents would often give up trying to find a dental practice that could manage their child’s behavior issues, and the child’s dental health suffered as an unfortunate result.
At Dental On Central, we specialize in caring for patients with special needs!
We know the tendencies and aversions of autistic patients, and take steps to ensure their safety and comfort. Our goal is to provide regular, full dental cleanings and oral health procedures in a way that makes them kind of like coming to the dentist.
Bruxism (teeth grinding) can be one of the worst things for tooth enamel; it is a common risk of cavities and tooth pain in autistic patients. Tongue thrusting, obsessive picking at oral wounds and difficult at-home dental care routines can all lead to oral problems that require professional help sooner rather than later.
The best dental care strategy comes from knowing each autistic patient’s behavioral mannerisms and sensitivities. This comes out of a thorough conversation with the parent or caregiver about their dental care history and experiences, the patient’s tolerances, intellectual and verbal cognition abilities, and any other areas of concern. Then we plan a desensitization appointment, if necessary. This helps the patient become used to our staff and instruments in the office before the day of their oral examination. We determine the very best way to manage the components of each patient’s need, and formulate a plan of care that accommodates them well, including sedation and general anesthesia.
We also inquire about the patient’s medications. Stimulants and antihypertensives, antidepressants, antipsychotics and anticonvulsants all carry the side effect of
xerostomia, or dry mouth, which is a major contributor to developing oral caries
(cavities). We educate parents and caregivers in the proper at home treatment of
dry mouth and other pharmaceutical side effects in order to prevent future problems.
If your child has autism, do not wait until they are older to begin trips to the dentist. Begin early, no matter their level of functioning, to ensure they will not develop the cavities that could lead to bigger problems later. If problems are already present, do not wait any longer! We at Dental On Central can handle it! Contact us today to set up your appointment.