My child is autistic and turning six. I’ve avoided dental care because of her challenges, but really feel it is time to get her teeth looked at. Do you have any advice on how to handle this?
An Anxious Mom
Dear Anxious Mom,
My first recommendation would be to speak with your dentist about the situation. Every dentist is different. Some love treating children, but other prefer a solely adult practice and will prefer you use a pediatric dentist.
Once you get the who figured out, it is time to deal with the how. Make sure you communicate clearly with your chosen dentist the severity of your daughter’s autism and what could be the problem points.
Next, I would set up an appointment just to take your daughter in to meet the staff, and look at the office and equipment. If all goes well, the dental hygienist can show your daughter how the equipment works and what it does. I would not get any actual dental cleaning or examination done that day. Give her time to feel more familiar and secure.
Then, set a second appointment for the actual cleaning. Even with all the preparation, this may or may not go well. Give it time and keep trying. If it ever becomes apparent your daughter is not adjusting to dental work, as an absolute last resort you can look into sedation dentistry. But that really should be an absolute last resort.
This blog is brought to you by Auburn dentist Dr. Raymond Bolt.