Tips For Teaching Dental Care For Special Needs Kids

Dentist Blog

Although proper dental care techniques are essential for every child to learn, kids with special needs may find this more difficult than others. Children on the autism spectrum and those with conditions such as Down syndrome may need more efforts and guidance to master these tasks. Here's a look at some ideas to help you reinforce proper care techniques and what to expect at the dentist.

Role Playing Games

The first dental visit can be intimidating for any child, but it can be especially more so for special needs children. The sensory changes, the physical contact and the expectation of proper behavior can be hard to process. The best way to ease those anxieties is by introducing the environment through role playing games. Set up a chair in the house that you can use to pretend it's the dentist's chair. Then, have another family member act as a dental assistant, holding a mirror for your child to see as you look at his or her teeth and brush each one to "clean" it.

The social stories created through this type of role playing game will help your child feel more familiar with the process. It also helps him or her to learn the proper responses to requests from the dentist, which can ease struggles for everyone.

Make Flossing Visual

Maneuvering dental floss takes a certain degree of fine motor skills, and it may take practice for your special needs child to get it right. But, kids are more likely to stick with it and work at it when they understand how important the process is and can see it happening on a more visual scale. To do this, you'll need to have some yarn and shaving cream or frosting.

Cut a length of yarn that's about a foot long or so. That gives your child enough yarn to wrap around his or her fingers the way that you would with dental floss. Then, hold your hand up to your child, keeping your fingers together. This can represent teeth. Have your child practice the flossing technique with the yarn between your fingers.

To provide some understanding of the importance of flossing for kids that need to know why, such as those with Asperger's syndrome, consider spreading frosting or shaving cream between your fingers so that he or she has a visual representation of what the flossing does to remove things from between the teeth.

Adding Picture Prompts

If your child needs some support in the memory department, consider creating a dental care storyboard that shows images of each step and how they should be done. Post it in the bathroom so that he or she will always have something to follow to ensure that the process is done correctly. By putting the pictures together in the order that your child should do them, there's less risk of forgetfulness and missing steps.


22 July 2015

Getting Your Toddler to the Dentist Once and For All

Toddlers should see a dentist for the first time by the age of twelve months or by the time their first tooth comes in. But if you are a parent with toddlers anything like mine, the prospect of going to the dentist (let alone anywhere!) can be pretty intimidating. My kids were a handful growing up. They had tantrums any time we would have to sit in a waiting room, and they refused to get in the dentist's chair during their first few visits. So, I had to employ a professional to help me make the transition to finally getting them in that dental chair without all the screaming and crying. I know I'm not the only parent in this situation, so I decided to share the information I've learned with others who can use a little help. You can find all my advice right here on these pages!