For the parents of children with special needs who need braces, finding an orthodontist who understands their child’s disability can be challenging. These children often have hypersensitivity to sensation and pain and have difficulty sitting still. As a result, many parents choose to look past their child’s dental issues over fears the process will be too difficult and anxiety-ridden for everyone involved.
Read on to learn more about how to find the best orthodontic treatment plan for your child with special needs.
Braces For Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder
For children with autism, the process of braces can be more difficult. Parents of children who have difficulties with getting through a dental visit or even a tooth-brushing session may wonder if a straighter smile is worth your sanity. However, as with so many other milestones, careful planning and gentle treatment can make your child’s orthodontic treatment a possibility.
Set realistic expectations about how much effort will be involved in getting your child to cooperate with orthodontic treatment. If your child is highly unlikely to tolerate regular tooth brushing and flossing, wearing a night brace or retainer may be a challenge. Creating a modified plan for your child is essential before committing to orthodontia. Your child may still benefit from braces, and a customized treatment plan will help to make a straight smile possible.
Customizing Appointments For Your Child’s Needs
When working with a child with special needs, appointments with the orthodontist may take longer than with the typical orthodontic patient. We find that having a treatment done during a quiet part of the day or in a private room is exceptionally useful. Establishing a relationship with the same doctor and the same assistant helps to build a sense of familiarity for your child’s needs. Having flexibility in finding what works best for your child during their appointments will allow us to ensure the best quality of care while making you and your child as comfortable as possible.
Sensory Smart Tips For Orthodontia
Working with a sensory-smart orthodontist makes all the difference when it comes to your child’s treatment plan. Orthodontists and dentists who specialize in treating children and teens with special needs, such as children with autism, know many tricks for making procedures more tolerable and devices more manageable.
Once you find the right orthodontist, take advantage of the following sensory smart tips:
- Make appointments first thing in the morning
- Desensitize and distract
- Be sensitive to your child’s unique level of pain tolerance
- Communicate with your child during every step of a procedure or treatment
- Use distraction as a critical tool for managing anxiety, pain, and distress
- Use hand signals to alert the need for a break during a procedure
- Prepare for appointments with strategies, techniques, supplements, or medications for pain and anxiety
- Plan a reward
- Be patient
Finding The Right Orthodontist For Your Child With Special Needs
It is essential to know that there can be consequences for not fixing a child’s crooked teeth. Misalignment often makes eating more difficult and can result in food being trapped due to hard-to-clean places inside the mouth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, which can also negatively impact a child’s self-esteem.
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, Thomas Orthodontics is here to help make your child’s orthodontic treatment as gentle as possible. We have many special needs patients that are on their way to a straighter, healthier smile and we are here for you and your child too!
Call us today to schedule a positive and gentle consultation appointment with our sensory-smart staff.