01 Apr Let’s Talk Autism and Pediatric Dentistry with Dr. Krista Kunz of Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mt. Pleasant, SC
Did you know that pediatric dentists have an additional two to three years of training after they complete dental school? One of the most important components of the curriculum and training has to do with treating patients who have special needs.
Whether your child is on the autism spectrum or is just nervous about their appointment, it is our pleasure to spend the extra time needed to make sure that everyone is comfortable and happy. There are some things we can do at the office and extra steps you can take at home to make visits to our office a less stressful experience. Much of this information was gathered from the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.
The most important thing you can do is to tell us about your child when you call to make your appointment. If he or she is on the autism spectrum or has other special needs, there are many things we can do to help reduce the chance of sensory overload. These include making the enviroment calm and quiet, turning off music, booking an appointment first thing in the day when there are fewer patients at the office, using headphones with their favorite song or movie playing, or dimming the lights. We can also book extra time for your child’s visit in case we need to take things slowly.
There are also things we can do together before your appointment to help things run smoothly.
- Visit our office before your appointment for a “happy visit.” You can bring your kiddo in any time! We have plenty for them to do in the waiting room, and it gives your child an opportunity to become comfortable with the surroundings when it’s time for the appointment. And we love seeing your child and meeting you!
- Talk about your child’s upcoming appointment. Let them watch their siblings’ cleanings or your cleanings.
- Show your child photos of our dentist and staff! If they see Dr. Kunz regularly on your phone or computer, she will seem like less of a stranger when it’s time for your appointment.
- Start visiting Magnolia Pediatric Dentistry in Mount Pleasant at an early age! Coming to the dentist by the age of one not only allows Dr. Kunz to identify issues with teeth, but also familiarizes them with the process of twice yearly dental visits from an early age.
Although there aren’t any dental issues caused directly by an autism diagnosis, there are certain behaviors associated that may lead to dental problems. Watch out for:
- Repetitive biting of the tongue and cheeks
- Bruxism, which is a fancy way of saying teeth grinding
- Many children are rewarded with sweet treats for good behavior. Be sure to keep an eye on sugar consumption, and consider non-candy rewards.
- If your child works with an occupational therapist or other aide, make teeth brushing a part of their routine.
As always, call our office at 843-996-6796 with questions. We want all kids in Charleston to be happy and comfortable in our office and out!