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Dental Care For Children With Special Needs

Dental Care For Children
Dental health and care is a serious medical concern for everyone. Some people take it lightly whereas others do not pay much attention when they should be ensuring a healthy balance. The bed-time battles, arguments to make your children get up and brush their teeth and floss, are experienced by almost all the parents around the world. This can be more difficult especially when you are dealing with children with the special needs. Children with certain physical, intellectual and medical disabilities can suffer various dental problems. The reason can be a number of issues including difficulty with memory and dexterity.

Dental Concerns In The Children Having Special Needs

  • Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): The dental condition GERD causes the mouth of your child to be acidic and it can also wear down his teeth. The dentist may prescribe certain pastes for preventing teeth damage from acid.
  • Grinding: You child may gnash or grind their teeth while they are sleeping or during day time. Grinding can damage the teeth over time but most of time children outgrow this habit. If not, then there are treatments available for helping such habits.
  • Holding good in mouth: Some children hold food in cheeks or mouth longer than the usual. It is also called as food pouching. This activity creates a place for the bacteria and cause the cavities to grow.
  • Dry mouth: This happens due to the condition of your child or from any medication. It affects the nutrition and may also lead to gum disease, tooth decay and mouth infections.
  • Delay in the first teeth: This is a common problem in the children suffering from ‘Down Syndrome’. Check with the dentist and the doctor of your child for the treatment ideas.
  • Bad breath: This happens due to chronic sinusitis, diabetes, digestive problems, and certain medications that the child is taking.
  • Gums and teeth affected by medicines: Certain medicines and liquid syrups with sugar can actually cause cavities. Antihistamines, anti-GERD medicines, antidepressants, barbiturates, and sedatives may reduce the amount of saliva your child makes. Some medicines for seizures may cause the enlarged gums, and further causing the gums to bleed. You can rinse or spray the mouth of your child with water after every dose.

Professional Dental Care Of Your Child

There are more concerns when you plan to visit the dentist or dental hygienist with your child. Sometimes, you may find difficulty to find such a dentist who would treat children with the special needs. The reluctance of the dentist could come from various reasons like:
  • Lack of the proper equipment
  • Insufficient time for making the cost effective treatment
  • Lack of training
  • Fear of hurting the child unintentionally
  • Lack of understanding regarding the special needs of the child

Convincing And Encouraging Your Child To Visit The Dentist

Whether your child would see a pediatric dentist, your family dentist, or any other, it is important that you do some practice with him before going to dentist’s office. You can use the same ways and techniques as you practice for any medical emergency. Take a stuffed animal or a doll as first dental patient. You or a sibling can act like the next patient while someone else can be the dentist. Make sure that you encourage the child for taking turns at the office of mock dentist as well. You can also use a book for children about visiting a dentist regarding dental health. Have the child read it or you may read it for him depending on his language and cognitive skills. Learn all about the dental problems of kids and make sure that you talk about the images with your child. You can then ask your child to be the good kid who would go and see the dentist.