Special Needs Growing Smile Pediatric Dentistry and Braces

Special Needs

Caring and Sensitive Dental Treatment for Your Child’s Special Circumstances

At Growing Smile Pediatric Dentistry and Braces, we are very aware that children with special needs may have a difficult time when visiting the dentist. We work with you to provide a caring and sensitive experience for your child.

Accommodations for “Sensory Friendly” Program offered at Growing Smile Pediatric Dentistry and Braces:

  • Introductory appointment with special needs consult question evaluating which accommodations/conditions/staff would best suit the child
  • Touch and Feel box to send home pre-exam with items from the office like a mask, mirror, tooth brush, cleaning head, etc. that will be used during exam
  • Suggest role playing the exam at home—let child practice being the “dentist” and the patient
  • Alternative 3 month schedule with shorter exams vs. 6 month schedule
  • Private room for exams where patient cannot see other patients
  • Dimmed lights
  • Bean bag topper for dental exam chair for less rigid seating
  • Weighted blanket
  • Pre-reclined chair to limit motion/changes in positioning
  • Comfort item from home
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Modeling procedures
  • Visual schedule/Token Board reinforcement for each part of exam
  • Visual Timer to show time until exam/procedure ends
  • Nitrous Oxide “Happy Gas” for all patients with parental consent
  • General Sedation for severe special needs/OR procedures

Child can also have their behavior technician accompany them to their appointment if they are working with one through an ABA-based organization.

Advance preparation helps assure your child a positive dental appointment

Listen to your child’s questions and fears about their dental appointment. Prepare your child in advance and ask us for suggestions about how to assure them during their visit.

Plan your time at our office to encourage an easy experience

Be sensitive to your child’s schedule and routine when selecting an appointment time. Request their favorite or familiar team member when scheduling procedures.

Provide information to our Growing Smile team to help us accommodate your child’s needs.

Communicate any accessibility or chair transfer needs. Also list any of your child’s health issues such as allergies.

Preparing for a dental appointment with your child that has special needs

Preparation is important to help your child have a good experience with their dentist. Avoid notifying them of their appointment at the last minute. Communicate openly with your child and use visual aids (books, websites, etc.) to help them understand what to expect at the dentist’s office.

Create a positive dental experience for your child with special needs

  • Schedule their appointment during a time that’s easy on their behavior or lifestyle.
  • Be prepared for the “wait-time” prior to their appointment.
  • Bring items that entertain them and help them relax.
  • Schedule their appointment with the specific dentist and/or dental hygienist that they’re comfortable with.
  • Encourage and praise them throughout their appointment.

Acquaint yourself with the office accommodations for your child’s needs

  • If necessary, locate wheelchair access points.
  • Plan how you will transfer your child to the dental chair for their treatment.
  • Communicate with the dental office about any necessary restraints or support that your child will require during their appointment.
  • Provide a thorough medical history for your child and list of their allergies including latex or any dental treatment methods.

Be aware of sedation options for your child with special needs

Your children’s dentist desires to provide them the most comfortable and relaxing care possible. An alternative form or anesthesia can be necessary for some dental appointments. Sedation dentistry is one option that can be used in some treatment circumstances.

At-home care for your child with special needs

Maintain an oral hygiene routine for your child. Encourage and support them in their tooth brushing, flossing, and healthy dietary choices.

Contact us about your child’s disabilities and any related questions to assure a positive dental appointment. Call us to schedule a FREE consultation.

Please print and fill out these forms. You may either bring them with you to your scheduled appointment or fax them to 978-854-6921.