As the parent of a child with autism, you don't want your child to be disadvantaged in any way. However, your child's condition must be accommodated during many of the typical aspects of growing up, and this can include something as seemingly straightforward as a dental checkup. It's not as though any child relishes visiting the dentist, but you and your chosen dentist must take steps to be sure that your child still receives a high standard of care, even with a procedure as simple as children's dental cleaning. What are some basic steps you can take to make the overall process calmer without sacrificing its effectiveness?
Maybe it seems illogical, but you could think about tackling your child's dental care in stages, meaning that each visit to the dentist is as brief as possible. For example, your child's dentist could perform an examination during an appointment and then scheduling any necessary procedures (such as professional cleaning, also known as scaling and polishing) for a subsequent visit the following week. Any issues that might require treatment (such as filling a cavity) can also be performed during specific sessions. It's unwise to delay necessary treatment for too long, however, staggering visits with a short break in between can achieve the final goal in a way that's less disruptive for your child.
Even when staggering their treatment, it can still be disruptive if your child has any issues pertaining to the physical act of sitting in the dentist's chair. Have you considered any sensory issues that your child might experience and how these can be overcome while at the dentist? For example, if your child responds negatively towards brightness (which can be triggered by the bright dental LED lamp), your child can wear sunglasses. Likewise, if your child has an adverse reaction to the operating sound of the dental tools used during their cleaning or other treatment, they can wear noise-canceling headphones during their session.
Your child may not respond well to other types of routine physical stimuli that they might experience during treatment, such as the physical vibrations of the various dental tools that will be used. If this should prove to be an issue, ask your child's dentist to apply a numbing agent to your child's mouth before commencing work. This is generally a gel, which acts as a short-lasting topical anesthetic. It sufficiently desensitizes your child's mucous membranes, allowing their dentist to provide treatment without your child being overly bothered about the physical sensations caused by the treatment.
Obviously, autism should never be a barrier that prevents your child from receiving dental care, but certain provisions can be helpful in overcoming any obstacles.
Reach out to a local dentist to learn more about doing children's dental cleaning for your child with autism.Share