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Dental Options for Kids With Sensory Issues

Dental Options for Kids With Sensory Issues

At Milestone Kids Dentistry, we offer a safe, fun, and judgment-free environment for all our patients. We work especially hard to provide dental options for kids with sensory issues

We know that the new sounds and sights may seem overwhelming as you prepare to bring your child to the dentist for the first time. Below, you will find more information on our dental options for providing productive appointments for kids with sensory issues.

four children in an orthodontic office taking a selfie

Sensory Issue Categories

For children with sensory issues, toothbrushing and flossing may seem impossible at first. Their sensitivity to sounds, sights, textures, and flavors could hinder their ability to develop safe and healthy dental habits. At Milestone Kids Dentistry, our professionals help parents develop and model behaviors that reinforce their child’s dental hygiene. 

Whether your child struggles with hypersensitive or hyposensitive sensory issues, our professionals at Milestone Kids Dentistry understand how to accommodate the needs of every patient. 

Brushing Options for Kids With Sensory Issues

For children who are hyposensitive/sensory seeking:

  • Wearing a weighted vest during tooth brushing may calm children and reduce their fidgeting. 
  • An electric toothbrush increases stimuli and causes some children to enjoy brushing their teeth. 
  • Singing songs to your child while they brush ensures the child brushes their teeth for the appropriate amount of time.
  • Using a toothbrush with a small brush size allows for easier, quicker movements around the mouth, cleaning the teeth more effectively. 

For Children Who Are Hypersensitive/Sensory Avoiding

Easing into tooth brushing allows children to develop tooth cleaning routines at their own pace. These steps provide a gradual approach for children with sensory-avoiding behaviors. 

  1. Rubbing the outside of the mouth with fingers or a warm, wet washcloth 
  2. Massaging the gums gently with fingers or a warm, wet washcloth
  3. Introducing a dry toothbrush to the gums and teeth 
  4. Adding a tiny bit of toothpaste to the brush and gradually adding more as the child becomes comfortable
  5. Allowing the child to control the amount of pressure and the speed of the toothbrush (The child may increase the pressure and speed of brushing as they become more comfortable.)

For all children with sensory processing issues, modeling healthy dental practices and allowing the child to choose their favorite flavor of toothpaste increases their desire to floss and brush their teeth more regularly. 

There’s way more dental options for kids with sensory issues. During your appointment we will share some of our recommendations to keep your kid’s smile healthy and bright. 

a little girl laying on the dental chair getting her teeth checked by the dentist

Dental Appointment Preparation for Kids With Sensory Issues

Before attending a pediatric dentist appointment, prepare your child and dentist for the experience with clear communication. 

  • Inform our team of any medications your child is taking, anxiety triggers, or other concerns you may have. The more we know, the more we can adapt treatment to best suit your child. 
  • Scheduling a tour to introduce the environment at Milestone Kids Dentistry helps ensure a successful new patient cleaning and exam. 
  • A visual presentation and a detailed schedule can help children learn the steps necessary for tooth cleaning. 
  • If your child becomes uncomfortable at any time, let us know. We can easily schedule another visit to facilitate your child’s needs. 

Dental Sedation For Kids With Sensory Issues

All children deserve a bright smile. In some cases, we may suggest sedation to provide the care your child needs. 

Forms of sedation include sedation through nitrous oxide, general anesthesia, and oral conscious sedation. 

Nitrous Oxide: This easily reversible form of sedation calms patients nerves as they inhale nitrous oxide (funny gas). Children under this easily reversible form of sedation, maintain the ability to respond, speak, and listen to their dentist during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide sedation in pediatric dentistry aids in gag reflex reduction and is safe for children. 

Oral Conscious Sedation: Oral sedation relaxes children as they undergo dental treatment. This medication also enables the child to respond and interact with their dentist while sedated without feeling overly alert or afraid. 

General Anesthesia: General Anesthesia works best for patients who have trouble sitting still. Dentists recommend this for longer procedures and some children with behavioral issues or special needs. Your dentist may choose not to use this method based on the patient’s weight, age, or any pre-existing health conditions. 

At Milestone Kids Dentistry, we value your child’s safety and comfort. At your new patient cleaning and exam, you and our helpful team will come up with a plan to ease your little one into dental security. 

Sensory Friendly Dentistry in Lake Stevens, Snohomish, and Smokey Point

At Milestone Kids Dentistry, we value unique smiles and personalities. We provide guidance on preventative dental care, help with behavior management, and nutritional education that keeps your kids smiling after every visit. We are the area’s foremost special needs pediatric dentist. Your child will receive the best care, adapted to their specific needs. 

To learn more about your options for preparing children with sensory issues for their first dental visit, check out the Autism Speaks Dental Guide.

Our reputation shines through our patients’ smiles in the Lake Stevens, Snohomish, and Smokey Point area. Call (425.512.9887) or text (844.261.4431) today to schedule an initial consultation. 

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