Visiting the Dentist – Tips & Tricks

Regular visits to the dentist are an important part of your overall health. For kids on the spectrum, these visits can be scary and for parents, traumatizing.

Ian at the denist

It’s hard for kids with Autism to sit still for 5 seconds let alone 30 minutes while a stranger pokes around in your mouth. In order to set up a healthy habit going forward, it helps to practice what is going to happen at the dentist ahead of time. Enlist your child’s school to help with this.

My son’s school created a dentist “program” where a teacher wore a white dental coat and had my son open his mouth and get used to a cleaning in short intervals that were lengthened to an approximate time of a true dental appointment. It’s also helpful to alert your dentist ahead of time that you are coming in. Let the dental staff know that it is hard for your child to wait, and sit still and that the visit may be shorter than usual.

Ian getting his teeth cleaned

Ian getting his teeth cleaned

When my son has a dental visit, I sit next to him and support the hygienist who is cleaning his teeth by reminding Ian to keep his mouth open, and to sit still. We give him lots of breaks and I remind him that after his appointment he gets his IPad. Over the years he has become a great patient and is relatively comfortable at the dentist.