I’m looking for some advice for a pediatric dentist. My middle child, Ian, is 8 years old, and he has Down syndrome. When we lived in Ohio, we had a great family dentist. Ian liked her and actually looked forward to going to the dentist.
We moved to IL last September and since that time, I’ve switched pediatric dentists twice because Ian is uncomfortable and so are the dentists. We have 3 other children, and although I’m a stay-at-home mom, my schedule is quite busy. All of our kids are homeschooled. The most recent pediatric dentist scolded Ian for not following her commands. He is usually very cooperative. But I’ve noticed that if he is nervous around adults, he freezes. It’s not that he isn’t cooperating, he is nervous.
When we got home, Ian told me that the dentist scared him. This confusion with different dentists is beginning to make me nervous that he isn’t going to want to go to a dentist at all soon. If you can give me some insight on how to increase the chances of finding a good pediatric dentist who works well with children with special needs, I would really appreciate it. Zuri
Ian’s experience definitely shows that his most recent pediatric dentist doesn’t work well with children who have special needs.
How to Find a Pediatric Dentist for Children with Special Needs
The good news is that you can find a dentist who will work well with all of your children. It just will take a little patience and research.
Ask for recommendations
Ask friends, neighbors, family members, or other associates for recommendations on a pediatric dentist. Search for dentists online and look for patient reviews. Some dentists’ websites show that they treat children with special needs. You can also call the offices and ask if any of the dentists have experience working with Down syndrome patients or patients with special needs.
After you identify two or three pediatric dentists, schedule consultations with them, and take Ian with you. You both will be able to see the office, meet the staff, and meet the dentist. Observe how the staff members and dentist interact with Ian and how he responds to them. It will tell you if your son is comfortable and if this dentist might be right for your son’s needs.
After the Switch to a New Pediatric Dentist
After you switch to a new pediatric dentist, if Ian is still anxious, carefully consider the cause of his discomfort. Is he anxious due to previous negative experiences, or is he uncomfortable with this particular dental practice? Sedation dentistry, or nitrous oxide, might be an option to help him relax until he is comfortable with the new dental team. If the way he is being treated at the office is the cause of his anxiety, don’t hesitate to find another dentist.
Your son’s comfort at a pediatric dentist can have long-term effects. Choose carefully.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca of Naperville Dental Specialists.