If your child has special needs, finding a specialized dentist is a must. Your child will feel more at ease with well-trained professionals who take a kid-friendly approach to dentistry. Here’s a closer look at special needs dentistry and how the Growing Health Smiles team can help.
According to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, special needs children are children with chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions. They typically have limitations in performing daily activities and require more extensive dental and medical services. Some of the conditions we see in our office include cleft lip or palate, Down Syndrome, neurological disorders, cerebral palsy, hemophilia or other bleeding disorders, heart conditions, autism, vision, and hearing impairments, as well as learning and developmental disabilities.
Common Dental Problems in Patients With Special Needs
Children with disabilities or special needs are more likely to develop dental problems. Sensory challenges can lead to oral sensitivity. Certain high-sugar medications, diet restrictions, and difficulty eating can lead to dental gum disease and cavities. Some children may also have trouble brushing, flossing, and informing you of toothaches or other dental problems. And other children have difficulty opening their mouths completely due to problems with jaw development.
Many of the concerns we address with special needs dental care are standard, such as the prevention and treatment of cavities. However, there are several common dental concerns that children and teens with special needs are more at risk for, such as:
- Delays in tooth eruption
- Missing or crooked teeth
- Extra tooth eruption
- Developmental defects
- Teeth grinding
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Poorly aligned bite
- Overgrowth of gum tissue
- Dry mouth
- Oral infections
Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist for Your Child With Special Needs
All pediatric dentists are trained in the care of patients with special needs. Beyond dental school, pediatric dentists have 2-3 years of specialized training in areas such as child psychology and development and addressing anxiety related to dental visits.
From infancy to adolescence, we are devoted to helping growing children take care of their oral health. This includes more than just dental check-ups and cleanings. We do everything we can to make your child as comfortable as possible.
We Offer Office Tours
There’s no doubt that new places and experiences can be scary for kids. Preparation and familiarization are essential to help your child with special needs feel comfortable visiting our office. To help everyone feel at ease, we’re happy to provide an office tour before your first appointment. You and your child will have a chance to explore, meet our team, and ask any questions you may have.
We also encourage you to watch our Office Tour and First Dental Visit videos to become even more familiar with our office and staff.
Communication is Key
Our Growing Healthy Smiles team is more than happy to work with you and your child’s needs, and we will make any necessary adjustments to make everyone as comfortable as possible. Before your appointment, your child’s dental assistant will reach out to you to learn any specific sensitivities or motivators they may have. Our mission is for every child to leave our office feeling happy and healthy.
We never want anyone to be uncomfortable, which is why if it is needed, we can offer extra time for your appointment. It’s normal for kids to feel stressed and anxious before a dentist appointment. We remain calm, move at a pace they are comfortable with, and help them work through their emotions. We also use picture guides to help keep track and visualize the next step and the progress through the appointment.
Anyone that’s been through a dental check-up knows that it’s not always the most comfortable experience. At Growing Healthy Smiles, we offer special services to help our patients feel at ease including:
- Providing blankets and pillows
- Playing a TV show, music, or movie
- Allowing parents to remain in the room
- If your child has a special item, such as a blanket or stuffed animal, we encourage you to bring it with you to the appointment.
Special Needs Pediatric Dentistry in Fleming Island, FL
Every child is unique and has particular dental requirements. Caring for children with special needs requires compassion, patience, and understanding. No matter what type of disabilities your child has, we’re here to help! If you have questions or concerns about your child’s needs and the dental care they receive, call us today at (904) 215-7800.