How Can a Dental Visit Be Made More Bearable for an Autistic Child?

Autism refers to a developmental disability that makes it very difficult for a child to communicate or interact with the people around him or her. Therefore, dental visit challenges (such as anxiety) faced by normal children may be magnified in autistic kids. This article discusses how an experienced dentist can make the dental visit more bearable for your autistic child.

Patient Explanation of the Treatment

A dentist who has experience in handling autistic children will be very patient when explaining the dental treatment that the child is about to undergo. The dentist will take extra time when delivering this explanation because he or she knows that autistic kids may take very long to assimilate any information that they are given. The added time that is devoted to explaining the treatment to the child will pay off because the slow pace of explaining allows the child to understand the dental treatment. The same patience will also be exercised when answering any questions that the autistic child poses.

Adjustment of the Treatment Schedule

The dentist will also be slow in introducing different aspects of the dental treatment. For example, he or she may wait for several minutes before beginning filling a cavity once the hygienist or dentist has cleaned the child's teeth. This pause gives the child time to prepare mentally for the next stage of the treatment plan. Consequently, the slow progress of the dental treatment will not be overwhelming to the autistic child.

Agree on Communication Signals

The dentist can also agree with the autistic child on what signals (lifting up the hand, for example) the child can use in case he or she feels pain or discomfort during any stage of the dental treatment. This signal is very important because (as already noted) autistic children may find it hard to express themselves verbally.

Administer a Sedative

Some autistic children experience heightened sensitivity to stimuli. Consequently, such kids may be very anxious during the dental treatment. The dentist can administer a mild sedative (such as laughing gas) so that the autistic child is more relaxed during the dental treatment.

As you can see, it is possible for your autistic child to get special consideration during his or her dental treatment. You should therefore avoid holding back from taking him or her for regular dental care. Find a dentist who has experience in handling autistic children and all your child's dental visits will hardly have any mishaps.

For more information or to ask about experience, contact different dental clinics in your area.