Hello. My four-year-old son is autistic. I need to schedule a dental appointment for him very soon. Do you have any suggestions on how to make his first dental appointment go as smoothly as possible? Thank you – Marian
Marian – If your current dentist is comfortable with treating children, you may consider making an appointment there. Some dentists refer children to a pediatric dentist for treatment. Pediatric dentists have two years of additional training specifically for treating children. A pediatric dentist is more likely to have treated children with autism.
As you know, autistic children prefer to have things that are familiar to them, and to be in a familiar environment. If you explain to your son’s dentist that he is autistic, it may be possible to take your son to the office in advance of the appointment, so he can see the office, treatment room, and equipment.
You can also bring along your child’s favorite toy, blanket, sweater, or whatever tends to soothe him in unfamiliar surroundings.
Despite the steps you take beforehand, you can expect some discomfort on the first appointment. Finding the right dentist who is willing to treat your son is important to helping him be comfortable. There are many pediatric dentists who are accustomed to treating children with autism. You may wish to do some Internet research for such or dentist, or make some phone calls and specifically ask for a consultation with the dentist of your choice before scheduling an appointment.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.