Choosing the right dentist for your special needs child.
Looking for a new dentist can feel a bit overwhelming, especially when searching for a dentist for your child with special needs. You’ll want to find a dentist that makes you and your child feel welcomed as well as provides a high level of dental care.
Here are 8 “green flags” for a dentist who will be a great fit for special needs kids.
1. The dentist is a dedicated pediatric dentist.
A dedicated pediatric dentist is going to provide an exceptional level of care for your child. Compared to general or family dentists, a pediatric dentist has undergone years of additional schooling and education about all things related to dental care for kids. This additional education often includes training in working with kids who have special needs.
By choosing a dedicated pediatric dentist you can rest assured that your child is in very experienced hands.
2. The dentist and team show they enjoy working with special needs kids.
In addition to choosing a dedicated pediatric dentist, you’ll also want to take note of how they interact with kids.
A pediatric dentist and their team should make it very clear that they genuinely enjoy working with children, especially kids with special needs. They should keep a positive, upbeat tone and use age-appropriate language when telling your child what will be happening during their appointment.
3. The dentist is eager to work closely with parents.
No one knows your child as well as you do. A great pediatric dentist will show they understand this by being eager to work closely with you.
They will want to speak with you about your child’s dental and medical history as well as what approach to interaction your child enjoys most. If your child has mobility limitations, the dentist will also discuss these with you to ensure your child is physically as well as emotionally comfortable during their appointments.
4. Your special needs child’s medical history is requested and reviewed.
Your child’s oral health is directly linked to their general health. A great pediatric dentist will take the time to become familiar with your child’s medical history for this reason.
During your child’s initial new patient appointment, you’ll fill out some paperwork outlining their medical history. When you meet with the dentist, they should go over this with you and learn as much as they can about any health concerns that could impact your child’s oral health.
5. The dentist works with your special needs child’s other doctors as needed.
In addition to getting to know your child’s medical history, the dentist should also be willing to work with your child’s other doctors.
Collaboration with your child’s general physician can help your child’s dentist have a better idea of your child’s overall health and what factors may negatively impact their overall health. This collaboration can also help with problem-solving if a dental issue could be causing health problems or vice versa.
6. Comfort and minimal stress are priorities during appointments.
A great pediatric dentist and dental team will make your child’s comfort a priority during appointments. They should work at your child’s pace rather than try to rush through treatment or examinations.
Your child should also feel respected and heard during their appointments. This helps build confidence in kids as it shows them if they feel uncomfortable or nervous, they can make themselves heard.
7. Sedation dentistry is available in-office or in hospital.
Sedation dentistry is a fantastic option for kids who need some extra help relaxing during treatment.
Pediatric dental practices should offer a few different types of sedation for kids—regardless of their needs. Nitrous oxide is a wonderful mild sedative that helps nervous or excited kids relax while still being fully conscious. Advanced pediatric practices, like We Make Kids Smile, also offer hospital sedation for kids who are undergoing extensive dental care.
8. Happy Visits are welcomed and encouraged.
“Happy Visits” is a term many pediatric dentists use to describe appointments for kids to come in and visit without any sort of examination or treatment. These visits are very low-stress and give kids a chance to meet the dentist, the team, and become familiar with the new office.
Happy Visits are ideal for kids who can sometimes have a tough time trusting new people or who often feel a bit overwhelmed and excited in new places. Happy Visits can be done once, such as when you’re trying out a brand new dentist, or periodically between six-month checkups.
Schedule an appointment with We Make Kids Smile today!
If you’re interested in booking a Happy Visit or you’d like to learn more about the special needs care we provide at We Make Kids Smile, we encourage you to give us a call. You can find information about our two office locations here as well as an online request form for booking during out-of-business hours.
Don’t forget to visit our website and click the Patient Forms link at the top of the page. This will direct you to a PDF with forms to fill out, including your child’s medical history.