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Special Needs Children And Dental Care

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Around 16% of all children in the US have special needs. The term special needs encompasses a variety of physical, developmental, or behavioral issues that can affect a child's everyday life. Just like any other child, special needs children require regular health checkups and dental care. Dental care while young is especially important since it can prevent long-term oral health issues. However, with special needs children there are a few things that should be considered when going in for a dental checkup.

The Dentist

When it comes to getting dental care for a special needs child, the choice of dentist is extremely important. Parents or caregivers should look for a pediatric dentist who has experience treating special needs children. There are plenty of dentists out there who are willing to treat patients with special needs. The Special Care Dentistry Association also has a database that can help locate a special needs dentist near the patient. Calling ahead and making sure that the dentist is familiar with the child's condition and able to provide dental care is important. It's also important to have good communication with the dental office since a longer appointment time and other accommodations may be needed.


One thing that is also needed when getting dental care for a special needs child is a thorough list of the medications that they are are taking and have taken in the past. Certain medications may have sugar in them, which can cause tooth decay. There are also medications that can reduce saliva production, which can also lead to cavities and other oral health problems. There are also plenty of other issues that may occur. Children with down syndrome often have tooth eruption delays of up to 2 years. These issues need to be addressed by a pediatric dentist in order to ensure the healthiest mouth possible. 

Regular Dental Care

Regular dental care is also something to discuss with the dentist during the appointment. Some special needs children may have difficulty taking care of their teeth. A dentist can help come up with a plan for daily oral health care. They can also recommend different products that may help make a daily routine easier for children who are having difficulties. It's also important to develop good habits early on in order to prevent oral health issues in the future.

Going to the dentist can be a challenge for many children with special needs as well as their caregivers. The first step is to find a pediatric dentist who is experienced and able to treat children with special needs. Keeping track of medications that can interfere with dental health is also important as well as a regular dental care routine.  Check out a dental clinic like Kids First Pediatric Dentistry for more information.