April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month
First Choice Dental’s Commitment to Your Safety and Health
4 Ways to Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month
First Choice Dental's Re-Opening Update
Five Tips for Proper Orthodontic Care Between Visits
No Dental Insurance? Try this Smart Choice
Why Every Kid Should See an Orthodontist Starting at Age 7
Empowering Hygienists with Collaboration & Clear Expectations
To Succeed, Our Hygienists Keep Learning
Sharp Instruments Give Our Hygienists an Edge
Flexibility and the Game of Life
Our Structure Puts People First
Are you at risk for gum disease? Take this quiz to find out!
5 reasons you should celebrate this unsung Dane County anniversary
Summer is here! Time for the cookouts, maybe a little camping, and… braces!
Say "I Do" to a Beautiful Smile
Why Fluoride? The Good, the Bad, and the Facts
When do you start dental care with kids?
Improve your #selfie game with a healthy #smile
No need to floss? Think again!
Dental implants change the way dentists address tooth loss
Oral Cancer Myth Busting -- What You Don’t Know Could Hurt You
Snack Ideas with Punch for Your Smile
Smile Makeovers In Time For Your Wedding Day
Smile Makeover Photos You Will Not Believe
Acid Reflux or GERD and Tooth Damage
Join Us for a Luau to Help Fund Epilepsy Research
Dentist Approved Holiday Snacks for Kids and Adults
Tips to Keep Your Smile White and Bright this Holiday Season
What’s the first step in TMJ Treatment?
What You Can Expect During a Dental Hygiene Visit May Surprise You
Are Adult Fluoride Treatments Necessary
Keep Your Gums Healthy to Avoid Tooth Loss
Your Dental Hygiene Visit is More Than A Cleaning
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Braces
Childrens Dentistry to Maintain Kids Dental Health and Teaching Good Self Care
Teeth Grinding Clenching and Bruxism
Oral Cancer & HPV: A Doctor's Perspective
Have you had your oral cancer screening this year?
It Is Never Too Late to Make Your Teeth Straight with Braces for Adults
5 Dental Myths to Avoid for the Sake of Your Oral Health
Did You Know Your Dentist at First Choice Dental Could Help Relieve Chronic Headaches?
Learn More About Lumineers, the Ultra-thin Veneers for Your Teeth
Heart & Dental Health Go Hand in Hand
Hope and Hula in Pursuit of a Cure for Epilepsy
Conscious Sedation Dentistry Helps Make Dental Visits Easier
5 New Years Resolutions for a Healthier Smile
Is Flossing Your Teeth Really Important?
Smile-Worthy Holiday Gifts That Sparkle
Tips for Super Smile-Worthy Holiday Photos
Save hundreds of dollars this holiday season? Visit your dentist before December 31.
Is dental health linked to heart health?
Dental Hygiene Month Reminder More than a Cleaning
No lectures! Plus 6 other things you THOUGHT you had to fear at the dentist, but don’t.
Which toothpaste do dentists recommend: Insights into your dentist’s medicine cabinet.
How does the orthodontics process work?
What is Multi-phase Orthodontic Treatment and how can it help me?
Children's Dental Health Month: 10 Keys To Smile Health At Every Age & Stage
We're now your Waunakee dentist with the opening of First Choice Dental's 10th facility in Waunakee.
Oral Wellness: Your Dentist Helps You Have A Healthier Smile, For a Healthier You
Smile Healthy With Summer Nutrition Tips
Dental Care Tips For Special Needs Patients
What is Sedation Dentistry and is it right for me?
What is MI Paste and how can it benefit my teeth?
What is Laser Dentistry and how can it make for comfortable dental visits?
10 Tips to Make Key Dental Dates Part of Your 2013 Calendar
Mistletoe Preparedness Tips: Holidays = Together Time. Are you ready?
Why should I make dental visits part of my back to school routine?
5 Tips for Parents about Dentists for Kids in Madison
A Look at Laser Dentistry and Waterlase Technology
Making Sense of Teeth Whitening Options
How to Find the Right Dental Care for Your Child with Special Needs
Eat Healthy for a Healthy Smile
How Can Conscious Sedation Help with Dental Fear?
Conscious Sedation provides hope and help for people with overwhelming fear or anxiety of going to the dentist.
Tips for a More Kissable Smile
What Your Teeth are Telling You: Your Smile Could Show Signs of Diabetes and Other Health Risks
Don't Let Halloween Treats Play Tricks on Your Healthy Teeth!
Brace Yourself for Orthodontic Health Month
Snack Shacks & Sticky Summer Treats...Tips To Keep Your Child's Teeth Healthy!
Helpful Chart from the Minnesota Dental Association Shows Soda Sugar & Acid. When in doubt, water's always a great choice!
What are the benefits of Invisalign(R) invisible braces and how does the process work?
GameFace Mouth Guards Help Provide Sports Safety
Ten Foods That Are Good For Your Body And Your Smile
Can my dentist turn snoring into sleeping beauty?
Sip all day. Get decay. Soda can harm your oral health.
What To Expect When You're Expecting, Or Would Like to Be: A Trip to the Dentist is Important for Moms-To-Be or If You May Be Soon…
Does a Healthy Smile Lead to a Healthy Heart? Research shows a link between oral and overall health
Your dentist may be able to relieve chronic headaches caused by TMJ
Braces-Friendly Eating Tips: Dietary Guidelines for Orthodontic Patients
How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease & What Can I Do About It?
Fluoride: Too Much of a Good Thing?
Does flossing really make a difference?
First Choice Dental Group Fact Sheet
Can the health of my smile affect my overall health?
How can I make my smile look better with help from a cosmetic dentist?
Dental Care Tips For Special Needs Patients
April 1, 2013
When you have a child with special needs, you have many concerns to deal with. Keeping up with dental appointments can slip down your list of priorities. For the sake of your child’s dental and overall health, it’s important to bring this issue back to the top of the list. It may be difficult to keep dental care for your special needs child as a high priority or at best, it’s daunting. In honor of April being National Autism Month, we offer tips to make dental appointments a positive experience for special needs patients and their families.
Schedule an Office Tour Before A Dental Visit for your Special Needs Child
Kim Varian, a dental hygienist at First Choice Dental's Fitchburg location, has worked extensively with patients who have special needs. She recommends, "If you are looking for a dental provider for your child with special needs, schedule a tour to familiarize the child with the clinic surroundings and the staff. The tour will give you a sense of the atmosphere and culture of the office, and the clinic should allow you to make this preliminary step." Aides often accompany the child on these tours as well. Varian also suggests that families schedule appointments for special needs patients during “quiet” times, on slower days, when the office is not as busy. She says, "Ask the dental office about when quiet times are when you call to schedule your tour. They’ll be able to tell you."
Hygienist Kim Varian adds, "While some families believe looking for a pediatric dental specialist might be helpful, we’ve heard from some families that they’ve found pediatric dental settings to be over-stimulating for their child."
Make sure the clinic is willing to schedule enough appointment time to slowly introduce your child to the processes taking place.
Make Sure Your Dentist will Go At Your Pace
Sometimes, steps have to occur in intervals, with small breaks in between. Varian says, "We work with parents to understand the verbal cues and communication tools they use to help their child cooperate. We try to find the right door in to help the child have a good experience. It’s important not to push a child further than he or she is willing or able to go. We also work with parents to understand and address sensitivities the child may have to sound, touch, or light. If needed, we’ll work in dim lighting, provide headphones, or sometimes provide the child with a weighted vest to give the child a sense of comfort and security."
First Choice Dental dentist Dr. David Penwell echoes what dental hygienist Kim Varian recommends, “There’s no rush from our perspective. Our goal is to develop a successful relationship for the long haul. We may spend your child’s first appointment or two just getting comfortable with our team and our office. That helps us establish trust and earn the right to provide more clinical care at their next appointment. Your goal as a parent should be to find a dentist who’s willing to pace himself or herself based on your child’s sensitivities and needs.”
Dental Care for Special Needs Children Requires Great Communication Between Parents & Dentist
Dr. Penwell also says that as a dentist, providing great care for children with special needs requires good communication and partnership with parents. “Parents of children with special needs are their child’s best advocate. The more information we have to work with, the better. Be bold about telling your dentist what your child needs before, during and after your appointment. When we can work with you to know and be sensitive to your child’s needs, we’re able to deliver a great dental experience for you and your child.”
It is essential to share your specific concerns with your dental health provider. Whether it’s regarding the introduction of fluoride, the use of flavored polish, filling or sealant materials, or medications affecting your child’s teeth – these concerns should be addressed and respected.
Over the years we have been rewarded by the progress our patients have made. It’s most important to find a provider who will take the time to listen, to provide compassion, and to go the extra mile to meet your child’s unique needs. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists, make an appointment online. Or call any one of our Locations.