What Parents of Autistic Children Should Know About Choosing a Dentist for Their Child?
Choosing a pediatric dentist for any child is challenging but selecting a dentist for a child with autism is especially daunting.
Every parent of an autistic child should be aware of a few key points when choosing a dentist for their child.
Parents with autistic children should know if the dental office is equipped with a dedicated area for pediatric patients with special needs. The dentist has taken time to arrange this space in a way that reduces features that pose a sensory challenge to an autistic child, such as tastes and smells, textures, sounds and lights.
These parents can find out if the dentist has completed a course in Pediatric Dentistry from an accredited institution. This extra level of education gives dentists the skills they need to care for children.
Parents should also find out the doctors’ level of dedication to special needs patients. This extra measure of care helps a child develop a positive attitude towards going to the dentist; a child’s enthusiasm about her first dental experience ensures good dental hygiene for a lifetime.
A parent should ask to fill out a questionnaire about the child’s health issues and habits. This tool helps parents discuss the child’s special needs with the dentist on the phone or in person before the child enters the office. During the interview, the parent should let the dentist know what time of day works best for the child. The parent can relay any concerns about complications the child’s behavior may cause.
Parents should learn about the dentist and dental practice. Familiarity will help them feel more comfortable about allowing the dentist to care for their child.
The parents may ask for pictures of the office or workers to show your child ahead of time so he will know what to expect at the time of the office visit. Familiarity is always helpful.
Parents should learn whether they would be allowed to accompany their child in the examination room. They should also find out the average waiting time prior to appointments – short wait times are best. Even with preparation, your child may not be comfortable enough to settle into the chair at the first appointment – it may take a few tries. Choose a dentist that allows you to spend extra time in the waiting room or even reschedule when necessary.
Keeping these key points in mind should make choosing a dentist for your autistic child easier. Helping your child develop a trusting relationship with a dentist can have lifelong benefits.
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