Dental Health Care For Children With Special Needs
If you are the parent of a special needs child, it’s important that you pay particular attention to his dental health care. We recommend children have their first dental visit before the age of one, and this is especially important for special needs children. We are equipped to treat children with physical or behavioral disabilities. During these first visits, Dr. Grady can evaluate your child’s dental development and help you create the most appropriate home care routine for your family.
Special needs children are those with chronic physical, developmental, behavioral or emotional conditions. They usually have limitations on daily activities, and require more extensive dental and medical services.
We have treated children with Cleft lip or palate, Down syndrome, neurological disorders, cerebral palsy, and vision and hearing impairments which are common medical conditions requiring special dental care, as well as learning and developmental disabilities.
Oral Conditions Down syndrome and other genetic disorders can cause delays in tooth eruption, sometimes up to two years additionally, these children may also have malformed or extra teeth erupt, or congenitally missing teeth.
We recommend parents to visit us early as crowding and poor alignment in general can leave children prone to gum disease and tooth decay because their teeth are difficult to keep clean. In cases of severe intellectual disability or cerebral palsy, children may habitually grind their teeth, making them flat as they gradually break down the enamel.
Certain medications can also cause an overgrowth of the gum tissue, so be sure to ask your doctor about side effects. Home Care and Nutrition Start your infant’s home care routine as soon as you come home from the hospital by wiping his or her gums with a wet gauze pad. Once teeth have erupted, brush his teeth at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush, and floss daily.
We can recommend, when to start using fluoride toothpaste and how much to use. If your child can’t rinse or gags easily, you can brush with a fluoride rinse, which can improve your child’s defenses against tooth decay. Only do this with older children after coming into the office for a consultation.
Serving nutritious meals and restricting sugary or starchy foods can help baby teeth develop properly and limit exposure to the decay that causes acid attacks. Keep healthy snacks in the house, and save special sweet treats for during meal time. Brush your child’s teeth after eating or have him drink or rinse with water to neutralize the acids from those sugary foods.
Dr Suzanne Grady