I have a child with special needs that Ive been avoiding taking to the dentist. I know its going to be difficult, as my child cannot sit still, nor will he be able to tolerate a stranger poking and prodding in his mouth. He has bought to my attention some discomfort in his mouth. I can see a very large brown/black spot on two back teeth; likely the culprit of his pain. I’m guessing he has some nice sized cavities to be filled. This makes me even more nervous, as I cannot imagine him withstanding an appointment of that nature. I know I have to take him, but am procrastinating due to my own anxiety! How do dentists handle children like my child? Do I have to see a pediatric dentist?
– Layla in New Hampshire
Your concern is understandable! Though your are nervous about your son’s reaction, you will ultimately do him a big disservice by putting off a much needed visit. First, if you haven’t already, research the pediatric dentists in your area. Most pediatric dentists have extra training on working with children, especially those with Special Needs. Second, rest assured that if its determined he needs teeth filled or other work, they will have plenty of options to help your son relax and make it through his dental procedure. The likely offered option will be sedation dentistry. Sedation is the use of medication to make your child very calm for a procedure, but not sound asleep, and is done in the dentists office. This is the best method to help manage high anxieties. There are a few types of sedation dentistry: nitrous oxide (laughing gas, which is inhaled) oral sedation (taken by mouth), and IV Sedation (which is administered through a needle through the hand or arm). Depending on the work that needs to be done, you and your dentist can determine the best type of sedation dentistry for your child’s needs. Then your child will feel better, and so will mom!
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.