Healthier Smiles for Children with Special Needs

Westlake Pediatric - Healthy smiles for children with special needs

Did you know that children with special needs have teeth that require extra attention? Depending on your child’s condition, plus any medication that they’re taking, they may be more likely to develop gum issues and dental problems. Other challenges like teeth grinding, and delayed or atypical development are also common.

Having a dentist you can trust is important to the overall health of your child. When you have Austin, Texas dentist, Dr. Kyle Raymond on your side, your family will have one of the best!

Westlake Pediatric Dentistry provides the skills, experience, and compassion that your child with special needs – and your entire family – depend on. We look forward to building a lifelong positive relationship with you and your child.

When Should You Bring Your Child to the Dentist?

Baby teeth are just as important as adult ones are. Also, good oral hygiene habits that last a lifetime, start at a young age. So, it’s important that small children visit the dentist regularly. The residents of Austin, Texas can count on the excellent team at Westlake Pediatric Dentistry to care for their loved ones.

Regular checkups for children should begin soon after their first tooth comes in, or by the age of one. In cases of emergencies or with areas of concern, we see children as young as six months of age. Many family dentists don’t see children this early! But our pediatric dentist in Austin, Texas is always ready to step in and help.

If your child has special needs, our Austin pediatric dentist has additional training in caring for medically fragile children or young patients with more complex health issues than what a typical family dentist might be familiar with.

What Will Take Place at Your Child’s Dental Checkup?

Dr. Kyle Raymond and our Austin staff may take start with a few dental x-rays. Then a thorough exam of your child’s teeth and gums will be completed. We check for things like cavities, inspect the hard and soft tissue of the mouth for any signs of infection or malformities, and orofacial developmental concerns. If we find any issues that need attention, we will discuss what the options are in regard to the best interest and unique situation of your child and his or her medical diagnosis.

Westlake Pediatric - Dentistry for kids with special needs

What About a Cleaning?

Yes, children with special needs should have their teeth cleaned too! In fact, some may not be able to receive the level of oral hygiene that they should on a daily basis, depending on their situation and the abilities of the caregiver/parent. So, it’s very important to have a professional on your side to help care for your child’s smile.

Preventative cleanings usually begin around the age of three or four, and they should continue on to be a regular, bi-annual appointment. When you visit our special needs dentist in Austin, our hygienists will offer some tips and tricks for helping you provide modified but high-quality dental care for your child at home!

What If My Special Needs Child Needs Dental Treatment?

As a pediatric dentist in Austin, Texas you can rest assured knowing that we offer the highest quality of care to all of our patients. If your little one needs treatment, we do everything we can to ensure their comfort and safety at all times. One of the ways we do this is to offer sedation dentistry, putting your child at ease for their procedure. This is a great option for children that wouldn’t otherwise be able to sit through dental treatment, and allows us to work more efficiently. Everyone can rest easy knowing that the procedure is going smoothly while your child is safely sedated.

We offer the following types of pediatric sedation dentistry to help your child receive the dental care they require:

  • Nitrous Oxide: Commonly referred to as “laughing gas”. The child breathes in a gentle sedative through a mask that fits over their nose. This is a very safe and common method that has been used for years, and is extremely useful for children or anxious patients.
  • Oral Sedation: This form of sedation dentistry involves taking a liquid medication or pill before the appointment. Once the procedure is due to start, the child is quite sleepy, and all nervousness has subsided. This method is also called “conscious sedation” because the patient can still respond when spoken to, but will feel as if they’re half-awake. Amnesia is a common side effect.
  • IV Sedation: This deeper form of sedative method is administered intravenously (through the veins). This results in a form of sedation that is easily controllable and helps to ensure that the patient always stays comfortable for a specific length of time. Most children have no recollection of the procedure.

When we plan any dental work for your child, we’ll discuss which sedation option is best for their individual medical needs. If you have any concerns, please be sure to let us know, so that we can address them right away.

Preparing Your Child with Special Needs for Their Dental Visit

The dentist’s office can be a scary place for some, so prepping your child for their visit is helpful. We want our Austin dental office to be a place where every child feels safe and looks forward to visiting. In order to help prepare your child for their first trip to our practice, we recommend reading books about the dental office experience, roleplay (such as brushing and “counting” their teeth,) and discussing what will take place.

Always stay positive, as children feed off of our emotions. If you’re scared or nervous for your child, they’ll tend to be scared or nervous too. If for some reason your child doesn’t let us complete an examination or cleaning, there’s no need to stress. We’ll work at your child’s pace.

In return, we ask that you let us know of any specific ways we can help make your child’s visit with us one that’s productive! You understand their special needs better than anyone else.

Improving Your Child’s Overall Health

We understand that special needs require a lot of attention and energy. Doctor’s visits and other commitments may be difficult to arrange. Together we can all work to help your family have what it takes to enjoy healthy smiles. Schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in Austin today!