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Dentist for Children with Special Health Care Needs


Children with Special Health Care Needs and Dental Visit Success

All children require experienced care when visiting the dentist. Many children (and adults!) have anxiety about seeing the dentist. For those with emotional, cognitive, developmental and/or physical impairments

, a trip to the dentist can seem downright terrifying!  Such patients need dentists and team members who can compassionately meet their unique needs.

How We Can Help Your Child with Special Health Care Needs Have a Successful Dental Visit

Children with special health care needs deserve what all children do– a bright, healthy smile!  You may ask yourself, “Is there a dentist near me, like this?” Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry is just that! Whether your child has been diagnosed with autism, sensory sensitivities, anxiety disorders, down syndrome, or developmental delays, our team is here to support their oral health! We understand that each child has a unique adjustment period to new surroundings and stimuli.  Likewise, some may have difficulty with the different sights, sounds, textures, and people they may encounter during a dental appointment. Our team members have found the following techniques extremely helpful in setting up special needs children for success:

We Communicate BEFORE the Visit

As the parent, you are the expert on your child’s physical and emotional support needs.  That’s why we’ll communicate with you before the first visit to determine the best steps to take.  We encourage our parents to call our office and discuss the special concerns and needs they may have, so we can make the best plan together.

  • Smart Scheduling

Some children are helped by scheduling early in the morning.  Likewise, scheduling on days that are less busy than others helps ensure a less overwhelming experience.

  • Pre-Visit Office Tour

We also offer a picture gallery online.  With pictures of the inside of the office, the doctors, and team members, your child can review at home as much as needed what to expect before the big day.  These can be printed out and used the day of the visit, too, to help your child track where they are in the sequence of events during their appointment.

We Communicate Throughout the Visit

As soon as you check your child in, our team members will communicate with you and your child in a compassionate manner. We strive to help you and your child feel at ease on appointment day in the following ways:

  • Consistent Contact Person

Transitions for all kids are difficult! To help reduce the types of transitions your child has to make during a visit, we’ll have one team member come greet the child, take x-rays, perform the cleanings, and be present during the doctor exam. The child will have comfort with one, increasingly familiar face being by their side, and caregivers will know whom to approach should they have a question.

  • Clear Instructions

Our team members are trained in giving clear, simple instructions so children know how they can help the visit move quickly and smoothly.  Our team members share what to expect: textures, tastes, amount of time, etc.  In addition, we Tell, Show, then Do. The goal is to minimize any unpleasant surprises for the child.

  • Positive Feedback

We understand that sometimes a kind word help more than 100 clear instructions! Our team members give encouraging, positive feedback to empower your child’s sense of self while in our care.  We believe there is always a positive to be shared!

We Offer Additional Comforts During Visits

In addition to our exceptionally trained doctors and team members, we have some little extra comforts that can help.

  • Weighted Blankets

Many children with special health care needs find extra comfort a weighted blanket has to offer in a stressful situation.  We have different weights to meet different children’s needs.

  • Individual Movie Screens

Many patients find comfort and distraction with a favorite movie.  Each of our hygiene and treatment chairs has its own screen. If we don’t already have your favorite movie here, feel free to bring your copy from home.

General Anesthesia is Available When Needed

Even with all the best preparations, some children with special health care needs still may find the traditional dental visit too stimulating or stressful to continue.  In these cases, rest assured we understand.  We can still help!  Our doctors can schedule your child’s dental care to be performed while your child is under general anesthesia.  This option may also be the right choice for some patients to minimize the number of visits needed to care for all of their oral health needs.

We’d love to see if our office is a fit for your special needs child.

Feel free to call our office at 330-425-1885 to discuss your child’s specific needs.  Our team members will be happy to assist you.

This blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice.
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