Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect 1 in 110 children; and 1 in 70 boys according to Autism Speaks. Individuals with ASD may have difficulties with social situations, communication, and verbal interaction. They may also be hypersensitive to bright lights, loud sound, touch, odors, or taste which can lead to negative dental experiences if ignored. Here are a few tips for successful dental visits if your child is affected by ASD.
Consistency is key for developing a long term dental relationship. End each visit on a positive note and build upon the success of every office visit.
It may take several visits in order to complete one dental exam. Work with the dentist to find positive solutions for difficult situations.
Communication is the cornerstone of a successful first visit. The dentist wants the visit to be a positive one too. Be sure to share medical history and behavioral issues with the dental team.
Think about alternatives to drills and shots. Dental lasers are quieter than noisy drills and safer for ASD patients. Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar treats autistic children at her practice in Katy, Texas. She says, “I can do almost any procedure without using shots. I use dental lasers for fillings, crowns, pulpotomies, frenectomies, gingivectomies and even some extractions. Lasers make children much more relaxed and happy to come to the dentist.”
Find a Dentist
Finding the right dentist for your child can be a long and tedious process. Look for a dentist that works successfully with ASD patients. Find a doctor who is interested in developing a relationship with your child. The Autism Speaks Resource Guide can help find a dentist in your area.