Having a child with special needs is both challenging and rewarding, but any kind of medical visit can be filled with anxiety about how the child will react and what the aftermath will be. The result is that special needs children are twice as likely to have unmet dental problems than other children, according to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. At our Surrey family dentist office, we make every effort to accommodate your child’s special needs dental requirements.
Common Oral Conditions Found in Special Needs Children
Many special needs children have tooth eruption delayed because of their physical circumstances. For example, Down syndrome can slow overall physical development, which typically results in permanent teeth coming in a couple of years later than other children. Cleft palates, neurological disorders, impaired vision, or hearing, and learning disabilities all create challenges for parents. These factors make regular dental exams a critically important factor in oral health management.
Malformation and Overcrowding
When delayed teeth eventually appear they can be malformed, or the child might have fewer teeth than expected. In some instances, additional teeth erupt, causing overcrowding in the mouth. On occasion, the delay in eruption results in a tooth becoming impacted in the gum and requiring surgical removal by our kids’ dentist in Surrey, BC
Grinding of Teeth
Tooth grinding, particularly during sleep, is common in children with severe intellectual disabilities or cerebral palsy. This causes the tooth enamel to break down, wearing the teeth prematurely and resulting in cavities or exposed tooth pulp and nerves.
Children with compromised immune systems or connective tissue disorders can be more susceptible than others to gum disease. Often, the medications they take may contain sugar, or contribute to having a dry mouth. This promotes tooth decay and gum disease because they produce insufficient saliva to wash away bacteria from the teeth.
Oral Hygiene Challenges
Poor alignment in general, learning and comprehension challenges, and physical disabilities all make it difficult to keep a special needs child’s teeth clean. We’ll work with you during regular dental exams to discover ways to help you maintain the highest possible levels of oral hygiene and recommend products and methods you might find easier to use than standard ones.
Providing Dental Care for Children with Special Needs
Your special needs child requires the same dental care as all other children. Our compassionate and caring dentists will take a full medical and dental history from you during your child’s first visit. We’ll seek to understand your child’s unique issues and note potential triggers that could make the visit traumatic for them. Our team will recommend a custom oral care program that takes account of intellectual and physical challenges. If necessary, we practice sedation dentistry to help the child relax during treatment.
We recommend practising preventive oral care by scheduling regular dental exams and teeth cleanings to stop dental problems before they start.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our qualified and experienced dental team. We look forward to talking with you about your child’s special needs dental requirements.