Is My Special Needs Child at a Higher Risk for Dental Problems?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines special health care needs as “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs.” Children with such special needs often have unique concerns when it comes to their oral health.
Special Needs Children's Dental Concerns
Children with unique health care requirements are more likely to develop oral illnesses and/or suffer oral injuries. For a variety of reasons, this is true. In some situations, the child’s handicap can have a negative impact on his or her dental health. Special needs patients, for example, may be unable to understand or accept responsibility for preventative oral health practices; they may have higher levels of dental anxiety and, as a result, visit the dentist less frequently; they may be at a higher risk of oral trauma due to seizures or motor skill issues; they may have conditions that affect saliva production or how the oral structure and teeth develop; they may grind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism; they may have conditions that affect saliva production or how the oral structure and teeth develop
Furthermore, special needs patients may be prescribed drugs that have a negative impact on their dental health. Their drugs, for example, may contain sugar or cause dry lips (in which case there would be less saliva to wash away food and reduce cavity-causing bacteria).
Furthermore, when time and money are limited, other health problems sometimes take precedence over dental care, particularly when the link between oral and overall health is not well understood.
Why Should Special Needs Children Visit a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist?
Pediatric dentists receive further training in areas such as anxiety treatment and behavior coaching relevant to each child’s developmental stage after graduating from dental school.
We have the skills and experience at Stevensons DentaL Ark and The Dental Ark to provide high-quality, tailored care for our special needs patients. We are here to assist your child with whatever requirements he or she may have. Give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment for you right away! We are excited to collaborate with you to ensure that your child has a healthy smile for many years to come.