As part of long-term commitment to education around children and dental health, we take a special look at what a dentist visit can be like for a child with special needs.
Teaming up with Anna Kennedy OBE, one of the UK’s most prolific campaigner for children with autism (and Tesco Mum of the Year 2013), we’ve created an infographic around the specific challenges involved in taking an autistic child to the dentist – and how they can be overcome. We talked to Anna about her experience with her son Angelo:
“Taking a child that is affected by autism to the dentist can be a very anxious time, for both the individual and the parents. This is because of their difficulties in communication, heightened sensitivity to, reaction to, and fear of stimuli in the dental environment. They therefore often require general anaesthetic, and a dentist experienced in treating special needs patients, to make the experience bearable. Unfortunately, I have spoken to many parents like myself who have experienced long waiting times for initial appointments and treatment, and lack of understanding about the condition. My last experience with my son Angelo saw him waiting nearly four months to get treated for toothache, which caused much agony for him, and stress for us as parents.”
To aid parents of children with autism, we have also created a dedicated list on Toothpick.com showing dentists who specialise in treating these patients. Dentists will only be put on this list if they’ve been recommended by parents. The list can currently only be accessed by the above link.
“I am very pleased to be working alongside Toothpick to build up a directory of autism friendly dental practices across the UK, to allow us to easily sign post families to the right dentists and thereby highlight the resources that are available. It is my belief that doing this can help reduce pressure on more well known autism friendly dentists, and also commend the dentists that are doing such a great job in helping our children cope with a stressful experience. All the dentists listed on Toothpick for this purpose have been personally recommended by members of my network, and I would encourage any parent who has a recommendation for an autism friendly dentist not already listed to get in touch so that we can include them in this directory.”
We hope these two resources will help raise awareness of the great work carried out by dentists who treat special needs children, and create understanding for what children with these conditions may require.
Please get in touch with your recommendations of autism friendly dental practices – the more we have on the list, the more parents and children we can help! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post.