Special Needs Dentistry for Children


Going to the dentist is a routine, normal experience for the average person. But for some children, visiting the dentist can be terrifying, physically difficult, or complicated in other ways. Whatever the situation, all children need and deserve good oral care

Some dentists specialize in special needs dentistry, providing individualized care for each patient that takes their particular needs into consideration. A caring dentist will even learn the personalities and needs of each patient so that they are prepared for each consecutive visit.

What are some examples of special needs?

There are a variety of different conditions or disorders that patients may have that may require some accommodations in dental care, such as:

  • Paralysis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Autism
  • Down Syndrome
  • Psychological Disorders

These are just a few of the many conditions that special needs dentists and staff are trained to accommodate. What may seem routine to the average child can be a huge undertaking to another.

What types of accommodations can be made?

  • Specialized equipment. For some patients, administering dental care could require some different equipment, such as an accessible dental chair with neck and back support. Sometimes patients must receive dental care while in a wheelchair, which may require additional support or equipment that can extend far enough to reach the patient where they are. 
  • Strict adherence to routines. For patients with autism or patients with psychological disorders it is extremely important that the dentist and other staff follow the same routine for each visit. This includes the order of events, perhaps seating the patient in the same chair in the same room each time, and even seeing the same dental hygienist and dentist at every visit when possible. These things can ease the patient’s potential anxiety about going to the dentist. 
  • Positive attitude. This applies to all special needs patients. When the dentist and staff keep a positive attitude during treatment and speak in uplifting tones, it helps the child feel better about the visit. 
  • Calm atmosphere. In addition to a positive attitude, a calm atmosphere is the best environment for a successful dental visit. While it may be necessary to have bright lighting for the dentist and staff to see, the patient may want to wear sunglasses so the light does not seem so bright. Some dental offices allow the patient to watch TV while receiving treatment or listen to music with headphones. 
  • Reward cooperative behavior. With some patients the biggest challenge is getting the necessary cooperation to be able to treat them. Dentists and staff with experience know that verbal encouragement and other rewards go a long way in getting that cooperation.

Look for a Dentist Who Can Provide the Necessary Accommodations for your Child

If you have a child that requires special needs dentistry, look for a dentist that can, and is willing to, make the necessary accommodations for them. Explain the patient’s needs when you make your first appointment so that the dentist and staff can be prepared. Consider calling before consecutive appointments as a reminder of those needs to ensure that everything and everyone will be sufficiently prepared. These steps can help make dental visits go more smoothly.

Andover Pediatric Dentistry Specializes in Treating Patients with Special Needs

Looking for a dentist that has experience with special needs patients? All of our dentists at Andover Pediatric Dentistry have the necessary training and experience to work with children with many different needs who require special accommodations. At Andover Pediatric Dentistry, we believe all children have the right to receive dental care in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. 

Call 978-296-4964 today to schedule an appointment at Andover Pediatric Dentistry or click to make an appointment. We look forward to providing quality dental care for your child regardless of their challenges.