Home » Choosing a Dentist for Your Child
As a parent of a child with special needs, you have a lot of medical decisions to make. When the time comes for dental care, you will undoubtedly have questions about who can best provide your child’s needs. Children with special needs require extra consideration during dental treatment. Depending on the child’s need, even tooth brushing may be a difficult task to accomplish.
Luckily, there is a field focused specifically on special needs dentistry. Special needs dentistry is concerned with the oral health of people who have a disability. These dentists go through extra training focused specifically on different needs. While regular dentists can treat a variety of patients, it’s important to focus on a dentist who works specifically within the limitations of a child with special needs.
As you embark on the journey to find a dentist that can care for a special needs child, ask around. Talk to other parents of special needs children. Other parents, as well as teachers at school and daycare may have both recommendations about dentists for your child, both positive and negative.
Next, check with your child’s primary doctor. You’ve probably taken the time to choose the right doctor for your child, so the dentist will be no different. If your doctor has provided good care for your special needs child, they will likely have connections to dentists in the field.
Finally, look into the community. If there is an organization in your area that focuses on your child’s special need, they can probably provide some suggestions on dentists to speak too.
Prior to interviewing dentists, you may need to consider your insurance. If you have dental insurance, check to see which dentists will treat a special needs child. If there are no suitable choices, you may still have options for discounts or reimbursements.
After collecting all of these recommendations, take the time to meet with the dentists. Taking a child straight to a new environment can be an uneasy task, so make sure that you meet with a few potential dentists on your own. Once you describe your child’s needs, ask the dentist about special needs children they’ve worked with. You can even pose hypothetical situations, based on your child, to further assess if the dentist is a good fit. If your child will not sit still, talk to potential dentists about how they can restrain a child who cannot control their movements. If your child is comfortable sitting on your lap, ask the dentist if they will allow you to hold the child. It’s a good idea to have an action plan for your special needs child prior to their appointment to minimize stress.
Although interviews may seem like a tedious process, remember that you know your child’s needs better than anyone. After all of your questions have been answered, turn your focus onto the dentist’s personality. While he may be friendly, is he truly interested in working with your child? This may just be a gut decision.