Dental Care Guide for Children With Autism

Creating an effective dental care routine for children with autism can come with unique challenges. Thankfully, various strategies and techniques can make their experience less overwhelming and more enjoyable in the dental office and at home. Read on to learn more about these helpful tips.

Calm and Familiar Environment

Consistency is key when helping kids with autism care for their smiles. We suggest reminding your child to brush their teeth in the morning and at night around the same time, as this can help build a healthy habit and reduce any associated anxieties.

The same thing goes for dental appointments! Building a long-lasting relationship with a team of dentists who care can go a long way in making your child feel comfortable. Plus, Texas Tiny Teeth offers desensitizing visits for children with autism. During these visits, patients and their parents stop by our office to become familiar with the area and meet our team before receiving oral care. Not to mention, this practice helps us identify if your child requires any special accommodations to feel more at ease during their upcoming appointment.

Sensory-Friendly Dental Care

It’s also important to consider your child’s sensory sensitivities. Certain textures, scents, and tastes may deter them from caring for their teeth consistently. Therefore, choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste is crucial. Your child may prefer softer bristles and toothpaste with milder flavors, whereas others may need something entirely different. Always try your best to listen to their needs and concerns and adjust accordingly to encourage positive oral care habits.

Comfort Items

Many children with autism find that brushing and flossing are over-stimulating activities, which is no fun when you have to manage those feelings every morning and night. Plus, these anxieties can amplify when it’s time to head to the dentist. That’s why comfort items are an excellent resource! Many children have a favorite toy, tablet, or item that makes them feel grounded and more relaxed. Allowing them to have the item while they brush at home and visit the dentist gives them a resource to make the experience more enjoyable.

Texas Tiny Teeth always welcomes small comfort items during appointments. As soon as they begin to feel stressed, remind them that their comfort item is there, and they can focus on it while dealing with the unwanted sensory issue. Not only will this help them in the short term, but it can create a positive connection with brushing and flossing in the long term.

Patience is Essential

Not every child with autism will properly care for their teeth right away — and that’s okay! Every kid is unique, and sometimes it takes a while to pinpoint what your little one needs to brush and floss successfully. While some children may speak up when something feels off, others may not. Taking the time to read their verbal and nonverbal cues is an excellent way to assess if their current routine is working. Always remember to celebrate the small victories, and feel free to switch things up based on what is best for your child.

Reinforce Good Habits

Encouraging your kid and seeing positive results in return is a wonderful feeling. We suggest using a sticker chart to instill healthy habits for children with autism. For example, you can allow them to add a sticker each day they brush and floss as needed. Once they have enough stickers, they can receive a small reward, like a treat or a gift.

Positive reinforcement is also something we practice at Texas Tiny Teeth. After each appointment, children can choose a toy from our treasure chest to bring home. This practice helps them feel proud of themselves for staying brave. The treasure chest is especially helpful for our patients with autism since it gives them something to look forward to, even if they’re not enthusiastic about the visit.

Seek Professional Care

We recommend choosing a pediatric dentist who specializes in special needs dentistry for children. This way, your kids’s comfort is always a top priority, and the staff can effectively cater to their specific needs.

All Texas Tiny Teeth offices in the Dallas metroplex offer special needs pediatric dental care for children with autism. Our team has undergone extensive training to make your child’s next dentist visit a breeze! We provide various accommodations to ensure the appointment is as easy going as possible. Additionally, we are always willing to offer helpful advice to parents who want to improve their little one’s at-home oral care routines, including tips, product recommendations, and more.

Dental Care for Children with Autism in Dallas, Texas

Our team at Texas Tiny Teeth understands that kids with special needs often require special care. We have nine locations across the Dallas metroplex and are here to support you and your child. Click the button below if you’re ready to book an appointment today!