Visiting the dentist with an autistic child can be stressful for both the child and parent. Here, our Langley children's dentists explain a few steps you can take to help create a positive dental experience for everyone.
Dental appointments with any child can be difficult but especially so with an autistic child. There are not only the usual fears associated with strangers putting their hands in your mouth, there are also strange sounds, tastes and sensations, bright lights, and sometimes even pain. That said, there are things you can do to help prepare yourself and your child for their next visit to the dentist.
Find The Right Dentist
Finding the right dentist is crucial, not all dentists are comfortable with kids on the autism spectrum. If possible, locate a dentist with experience treating special needs children, then take your time to ask questions and get as much information as you need to feel comfortable and reassured.
Once you have chosen a dentist that you feel is a good fit, speak to the dentist in advance of the appointment so you know exactly what to expect, and tell the dentist a bit about your child.
For your child, your presence during the dental appointment is important. You'll be the most familiar face in the room, and you'll be key to helping the dental staff to keep your child calm and distracted during the treatment. Understandably, it can be difficult to stay calm if your child is having a hard time, however, being there and showing you're there to support them will make your child feel more at ease and safe.
Here are steps you can take to prepare your child their upcoming dentist appointment:
- Take your child to visit the dental practice in advance of the appointment in order to get them familiar with the new setting and faces.
- Bring along sunglasses and earplugs if your child has a problem with bright lights or loud noise.
- Come prepared with the toys, foods, videos or other comfort objects that will help put your child at ease.
- Leading up to the appointment, find a book or video to show and tell your child what will happen at the dentist's office. Review it often before you go to the dentist, and even bring it along when you go.
- Consider borrowing some basic dental instruments so that your child can see, touch and interact with them before going to the dentist.