Every child needs proper dental care, but some kids struggle to develop a healthy dental routine. Dental anxiety can ruin any day, whether at home or in the office. For children with autism spectrum disorders or extra sensory sensitivities, dental care can be incredibly overwhelming. Learn more about sensory issues, plus tips and strategies from the best pediatric dentists to help your family.
What Are Sensory Issues?
For children with sensory issues, physical sensations can be overwhelming and hard to understand. Sights, sounds, smells, textures, movement patterns, taste, and other feelings may seem more intense to children with sensory issues. Your child might have sensory issues if you've experienced these issues:
- They react more strongly than you expect to stimulus. For example, they say a fuzzy blanket is too scratchy, or a quiet noise hurts their ears;
- They try to hide from bright lights or loud noises;
- They refuse to wear certain types of fabric or clothing;
- They don't like splashing in the pool or bath;
- They hate brushing their teeth, combing their hair, or washing their face.
- Living With Sensory Issues
- There are many steps you can take to help your child handle new situations. Your child might outgrow their heightened sensitivities, or they may live with sensory issues into adulthood. Either way, you can help your child keep their mouth healthy with sensory-friendly techniques.
- Brushing Teeth At Home
- Tooth brushing can be a struggle for many children, especially those with sensory issues. Whether the feeling of the toothbrush in their mouth, the sound of something happening inside their head or even the taste of the toothpaste, brushing teeth includes many sensations; try these tips to make brushing teeth for children easier on everyone.
- • Try unflavored toothpaste or talk to your child's dentist about brushing with only water; • Explore different shapes and textures of toothbrushes;
- • Leave the bathroom behind and try brushing teeth in a low-stress environment.
- Preparing For Dental Visits
- The best pediatric dentists understand that the dentist's office can be an overwhelming place. If your child struggles with sensory overload, book an introductory tour at your Indianapolis pediatric dentist. Your child can meet their dentist and explore the kid's
Dental center in a low-stress situation then adjusts to the new stimulus before their first appointment. Any good dentist will be happy to arrange a tour for your family.
Before your visit:
- Talk about going to the dentist to help your child get ready.
- Be honest but reassuring about what to expect.
- If your child has unique comfort objects, such as a favorite stuffed animal, sunglasses, or a weighted blanket, plan to bring that with you.
Most importantly, let your dental team know about your child's sensitivities. With planning and communication, your child's dental care can be as easy and sensory-friendly as possible.