• Autism Help UK

How Do I Prepare My Autistic Child For Dentist?

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

Trips to the dentist with an autistic child can be a stressful experience. So here are a few ways you can prepare your child.


autistic child dentist

The Concern

Going to the dentist can spell disaster- They can be loud with numerous people in a small space and unfamiliar smells. The perfect combination for over stimulating anyone who is autistic. And that is just the start of the exhausting experience. You still have to go through the check-up, an overwhelming experience that involves the dentist physically touching the inside of your child's mouth, using tools and devices which can all seem scary to a child. This, piled on top of the unfamiliar environment, is sure to increase the difficulty for your child to express their wants or needs, as well as following instructions.


TIP:

Tell your child in advance about the dentist trip in so they can mentally prepare for the experience.

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Tips To Help

Every trip doesn't have to be like this. So here are a few solutions that are sure to help make your next trip to the dentist easier.


1. Let the Receptionist know you have an Autistic Child

If you are concerned about your dentist visit, let the dentist receptionist know that you have an autistic child. You can tell them what triggers your child and see if they can arrange a calmer experience. You can also ask that this information is passed onto the dentist so when your child goes in for the check-up they are prepared. The receptionist may even suggest a better dentist who is more suitable for the situation.


2. Ask for a Morning/ After Lunch Appointment

Before your visit with the dentist, call up in advance and ask for a morning or after lunch appointment. These times will have less people around, so you can have a mostly empty waiting room and a short queue. If you cant make these times ask the dentist receptionist when the quietest time is for your visit to reduce your chance of being there at the busiest period.


3. Play Dentist with your Child

Before going to the dentist let your child know in advance so they can prepare themselves. By playing pretend dentist your child will know what to expect, taking out the fear from uncertainty.

- Waiting office- get a few books & toys and pretend you are waiting for your appointment.

- Dentist Room- have your child sit down and use their toothbrush & and mirror to do a pretend dental exam, you could even count their teeth.


By doing this, you are also preparing yourself for how your child will react. You will know if they will keep their mouth open or they will stay reclined on the chair. If there are any areas where you feel your child might struggle, let the dentist know and see if they can adjust for you.


4. Distractions

When you go to the dentist, a good way to prevent your child feeling anxious in the waiting room is to bring a bag full of distraction to keep their mind busy. This could include their favourite toys, a tablet, anything they enjoy!


These few tips are sure to make your next trip to the dentist more peaceful. If you found any of these tips worked, feel free to share! Or if you have any other useful tips that you think should be added, let us know.


#Dentist #Medical

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