According to WHO, approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide are affected by oral diseases. Starting dental care for your child at an early age is important, but that can be a challenge. Many distressing factors contribute when you’re trying to take your child to the dentist. It can be even more upsetting for children with ADHD or special needs, and here’s everything you must know to deal with that.
Parenting a special needs child can be a little bit of a challenge. Everything, even dental care, must be specific and consistent. Every child hates sudden routine changes, especially children with ADHD, autism, and special needs. Many dentists recommend that by the time a child sprouts their first teeth is when they should be introduced to a dentist. You must do the same for your child with special needs but by taking a different approach.
Associate Good Things With the Dentist Appointment
Good dental care starts at home. To avoid any major oral issues in the future, it’s important to teach your child how to take care of their teeth from a very young age. When parenting a special needs kid, help them get accustomed to dentist appointments by starting with a social story. Associate the visit with a lot of fun things to do before and after it.
Everyone must clean their teeth twice a day, but getting a special needs child to adjust to that routine let alone going to visit a dentist will be difficult because ADHD isn’t just a childhood disorder; approximately 4 percent of American adults deal with ADHD. Having a good dental care routine at home will prevent your child from undergoing any further overwhelming procedures.
Take It Slow
You might want to shift this routine elsewhere if your child develops a negative association with being inside the bathroom early on. Start by introducing your child to a brush, they may even learn to keep their mouth locked shut to avoid it. You may also give your child a spare brush to chew on just so they get accustomed to the method of brushing their teeth.
Once your child is comfortable enough for that, take it slow and talk about how dentist appointments will be a fun experience. Taking your child to meet their specialist in advance may also help them get familiar with the notion of the appointment. Bring your child’s favorite toy for comforting them during the visit.
Find a Good Specialist
First and foremost, you must always find your child a well-known specialist for working with special needs kids. In 2021, a CDC report showed that every 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. If your child has an ASD, getting them to see a specialist may be more challenging. Experts suggest that you start this procedure when your child turns one.
That way, they’ll be able to develop trust and feel comfortable around the specialist. It’s important that you stick to a single specialist because, as mentioned earlier, any change in your child’s routine will be upsetting.
Preparing Your Child Before the Appointment
Here’s how you can make dentist trips easier when parenting a special needs child.
- Indulge in conversations about the appointment to mentally prepare your child.
- Mark the appointment in the calendar so your child can know it’s going to happen soon.
- You can try counting the days up to the appointment with your child to get them comfortable.
- Ensure you have a lot of spare time before and after the appointment so your child can take it slow.
Maintain a Positive Dental Routine
Sticking to a daily routine is crucial for a good upbringing of any child, but specialists emphasize living by the routine for children with special needs. Establishing a dental routine will help mentally prepare your child about what they should look forward to each day and how to tackle these tasks confidently.
Caring for a special needs child will require a lot of pretreatment planning including finding the right time to schedule the appointment. Discussing the medical and dental history of your child with the specialist will let them suggest the best treatment and toothbrush modifications for your child.