Making a Dental Appointment for Your Autistic Child

autistic child dental appointment

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to keep your children’s teeth clean and oral health levels high. That means scheduling regular appointments with the dentist. For a parent with an autistic child, the dentist can be more of an issue. Autistic children have sensory issues that can make going to the dentist feel like a nightmare. Children with autism often have hypersensitive hearing. The dentist’s electric drill can seem ten times louder for a child with autism. Here are some of the ways that you can make planning a dentist appointment easier with an autistic child.

Plan It Into Their Schedule

Children with autism often like order and hate surprises. Therefore, you should schedule their appointment somewhere that fits into their schedule. If they always go somewhere after school doesn’t schedule a dentist appointment there instead. Fit it into a blank space in their schedule. You won’t be disrupting their routine so they won’t put up as much of a fight.

Extra Time

Ideally, you want to make sure that there is extra time fitted in for your child’s appointment. It can take more time to get a dental check completed with an autistic child. Even sitting them in the chair can prove to be an issue. You should explain when booking the appointment that your child has a diagnosis. Ask if the dentist has worked with autistic children before and suggest that they schedule a little more time than it would usually take. This will stop them rushing, causing more discomfort for your child.

Distractions

Children with autism have fixed interests. This is something that they are almost obsessed with. It could be a video game, a favorite toy or a movie. You should ask if you can bring something like this to keep them happy and distracted from what’s happening. Even if it’s just switching the channel on the TV, so they can watch something that they are interested in.

Create A Routine

You’ll be going to the dentist a lot during the early stages of your child’s life. It’s best to start a routine because this will make it easier for a child with autism. For instance, you can ask that they see the same dentist that they have before. If the dentist is familiar to the child, they will find it a lot easier to cope. They will grow accustomed to the experience and eventually it will be another part of their routine.

Avoid Other Issues

A dental appointment can be worse if there is something else bothering your child. This could be that they are hungry, bored, thirsty or tired. You should get them as comfortable and happy as possible before they attend their appointment. By doing this, you will both find going to the dentists a lot easier. Don’t make them wait a long time for their appointment in the waiting room. Remember, this will be strange for them and possibly a new environment. Instead, aim to arrive five minutes before your appointment. You can ask the receptionist to notify you if there are any delays when you book the checkup.

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