Easing the Pain of the Dentist for Children with Autism

Easing the Pain of the Dentist for Children with Autism

A new Tool Kit For Dental Professionals has been made available for free download this week.  It is designed to assist dentists, dental hygienists and their office staff to feel prepared for interacting with patients with special sensitivities and medical issues associated with autism.

A visit to the dentist can be a very frightening experience for a child with autism for a variety of reasons. Dentistry involves bright lights, loud instruments and touching a very sensitive part of the body.  One mother commented, “My son fainted at one point after half an hour of screaming. The dentist had me pin his head in between my knees. There was something inhumane about the whole appointment.”

Recognizing the need for dental professionals to have the most up-to-date information about individuals with ASD and how to facilitate a successful office visit for children with autism is hugely important

“By bringing the Tool Kit for Dental Professionals to the attention of their family dentist, families can help dental professionals stay up to date on autism spectrum disorders and help make visiting the dentist a positive experience for their child,” says ATN Medical Director Dan Coury, M.D.

Autism Treatment Network (ATN) and the companion Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P) who produced this tool kit also released Sleep Strategies Guides this week to address how to improve sleep for children and teens affected by ASD. It recommends that families implement their sleep plan by first trying one small change, and then slowly adding other changes. With regular routines and continual effort, families often experience improvements in their child’s sleep patterns over the course of several weeks.