Kids are all in need of dental care, and children with special needs are no exception. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children with special needs are more prone to have dental problems, like gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral injuries. Some problems may be brought about by their physical condition, while some are due to the difficulty of maintaining their dental health by their parents or caregivers. Either way, parents or children with special needs are recommended to visit a pediatric dentist as early and as frequently as required. Here are some reasons why a special needs pediatric dentist is important.
Special needs pediatric dentist
It’s better to be early. We all know that visiting the dentist as early as your child’s first birthday or when his first tooth erupts is the best way to go. For average kids, it is a typical checkup that needs the help of the parents in maintaining oral practices at home. For children with special needs, on the other hand, the pediatric dentist takes the reins and leads the treatments, procedures, and activities.
They are trained to handle any type of pediatric patient. Yes, kids with special needs need not be categorized as a different species or group, they are all kids. And pediatric dentists are trained to handle every tantrum, worry, or anxiety each may have. They actually have 2-3 more years of training to make sure that they are capable of helping you with best dental practices specifically for kids, with or without a disability.
Children with special needs are more vulnerable to have dental problems. Although tooth decay is highly preventable, special needs kids may have developmental or growth delays that may cause other dental issues, like teeth misalignment, jaw deformity, bite problems, and malocclusion. Having a special needs dentist guide parents and caregivers in dealing with these conditions can make it easier for them to care and maintain their child’s smile.
Kids have trust issues. Babies have what we call stranger anxiety, where they sob or cry just by seeing strangers or coming close to unfamiliar faces. However, as time goes by, the familiarity of a person becomes known to them that they easily develop trust and confidence with the person, for instance, the dentist. However, that is not always the case for kids with special needs. So it is very important that the pediatric dentist understands this sentiment and establishes his role every so often so he can build and earn the trust of the patient so it will be easier to care for him moving forward.
What can you do to care for your kid’s dental health?
Make dental health a priority. Impose schedules of dental visits and orient your kids beforehand so that they will not be traumatized or surprised once you visit the dental office.
Maintain a balanced diet. Good nutrition keeps you healthy, so eat right by consuming foods that are low on sugar so as to prevent tooth decay.
Practice good oral habits. Brushing and flossing are already a given, but for kids with special needs, your help in doing these tasks are also a must.