Children with special health needs don’t see the dentist nearly often enough, according to the results of a 2011 research study conducted by the National Maternal and Oral Health Resource Center. In fact, the study ranks lack of preventive dental care as the top overlooked health need of special needs kids. Part of the reason is that parents fear how their child will react to a dentist examining their teeth. Children are unpredictable, particularly those with unique physical and emotional challenges. Because of this, parents tend to avoid the dentist for fear of the child having a meltdown and feeling judged by the dental staff.
At Bay Area Kids Dentist, we understand the importance of regular check-ups for all children. Each one of our dentists has extensive training in kid’s dental care, including treating children with special health needs. Whether your child has autism, cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair, or has a visual or hearing loss, our staff is here to serve your family. In addition to studying each of these special needs in dental school, we attend continuing education so we can better serve all of our patients.
Before we see a pediatric patient for the first time, we ask his or her parent to complete our new patient paperwork. If your child has a special physical or emotional health need we should be aware of, please describe it to the best of your ability in the paperwork. You can email the completed forms to us in advance of the appointment. A member of our staff may contact you to go over the information and ask for additional details about your child’s challenges. This helps us prepare for your child’s visit by making accommodations if necessary.
When you and your child arrive for a routine check-up, you may need to spend a few minutes in our kid-friendly waiting area before a staff member comes to get you. When the exam room is ready, a dental assistant will come to the waiting area to let you know. Our staff member will greet you and your child with a warm smile and a friendly demeanor. We encourage you to join your child in the exam room to help him or her feel more comfortable.
An important aspect of kid’s dental care is treating the patient with respect. This is even more important when the young patient has unique challenges. We explain everything we are about to do before we do it, making sure to take your child’s age and abilities into account. At Bay Area Kids Dentist, we focus on the individual and not the disability. While we understand he or she has challenges, we prefer to concentrate more on your child’s strengths. At the end of the appointment, we discuss our findings with you and provide tips for at-home oral care.
We look forward to meeting you and your child soon.