Dear Doctor Magazine Issue 17 - (Page 66)
Care for the Oral Health of Children with Disabilities and Special Needs
Proper oral care is fundamentally important to the overall health of children with special needs. Children’s special needs may make it difficult for them to perform daily oral care for themselves. Family members and/or caregivers may need to assist with these daily tasks.
Inform your dentist of any special needs your child may have, because some extra personal attention or the modification of equipment or procedures in the office may be needed. Provide the dentist with the most complete picture of conditions and/or behavioral issues your child may have. Be sure that you discuss any concerns you may have before the first appointment and also prepare the information prior to your child’s first dental visit including the following: diagnosis, current medications, contact information for other doctors, specialists, previous dentists, therapists, etc., insurance details, and any information that makes your child fearful or resistant. Depending on the type of special needs, sometimes the dentist will need to consult with your child’s primary care physician before starting dental treatment, especially if there are any underlying medical conditions. A consultation may be necessary if a child is taking medications or has a history of allergies to drugs or even latex (gloves). If the child sees many specialists, a list of doctors and/or therapists together with their contact information should also be included.
Inform your dentist of any special needs your child may have, because some extra personal attention or the modification of equipment or procedures in the office may be needed.
Do You Have a Plan in Case of an Emergency?
A fire, hurricane, or even a temporary power outage can wreak havoc with any family, but a child with special needs is particularly vulnerable. It’s important to come up with a list of steps that would need to be taken – at home, school or daycare – to insure the safety of your child with special needs in an emergency. The Center for Children with Special Needs in Seattle has some great emergency preparedness tips that you can access by visiting: http://cshcn.org/planning-record-keeping/emergency-preparedness-children-special-needs
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