Choosing A Dentist When Your Child Has Special Needs

Feb 15, 2021

Maintaining good oral health habits at home is especially challenging if you have a child with special needs. With a team of experienced pediatric dentists, we’re no strangers to the unique obstacles families of children with special needs face here at Stellar Kids Dentistry in Mukilteo, Mill Creek, and Everett, Washington.

In general, children are more prone to tooth decay than adults. Many little ones struggle to reach the back of their mouth when brushing and flossing, while others simply don’t have the patience to brush for a full two minutes at a time. 

For children with special needs, these challenges are often amplified. Whether your child has a physical, emotional, mental, or behavioral health issue, it’s important to find a dentist you can trust to deliver comprehensive care with the professionalism and compassion your family deserves.

Oral health challenges in children with special needs

All children require extra assistance and supervision to build good oral health habits. But if your child has sensory issues, anxiety, or a physical disability that prevents them from establishing a regular routine, they may be at an increased risk of developing:

Poor oral hygiene can have a domino effect on your child’s overall health. That’s why it’s important to address dental concerns as early as possible. With a team of trained pediatric dentists on your side, you can help preserve your child’s oral health for years to come.

Choosing a pediatric dentist for children with special needs

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, around 1 in 5 households have at least one child with special needs. While many general dentists have pediatric patients, most don’t have the experience or training to care for children with special needs and disabilities.

Pediatric dentists have 2-3 years of specialized training to treat children with special needs, including those with dental phobias and anxiety. At Stellar Kids Dentistry, our dentists are uniquely qualified to deliver gentle care for children with special needs.

Because children with special needs are at a higher risk of gum disease and tooth decay, the team provides guidance, preventive care, patient education, and cavity treatment in a way that best suits your child’s unique needs.

Treating children with special needs

Children with special needs tend to respond positively to calming environments. The moment you walk into our waiting room, you’ll notice that our walls are adorned with shades of purple and blue. These are calming colors that can set the tone for a relaxing visit at Stellar Kids Dentistry.

We also have a team of friendly staff and pediatric dentists, who are trained to accommodate every child’s unique needs. When performing treatments, our team takes the time to explain every step so you and your child know what to expect.

In addition to gentle care, Stellar Kids Dentistry offers sedation techniques to keep your child calm and comfortable throughout their appointment. At our offices, we offer:

Local anesthesia

Local anesthesia is a numbing agent that reduces pain and discomfort. 

Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is commonly referred to as “laughing gas.” When inhaled, nitrous oxide produces an instant calming effect that allows your child to relax during treatment.

Oral sedation

Oral sedation is a pill that your child takes about an hour before treatment. While your child will be conscious throughout their visit, they may not be fully aware of their surroundings. Oral sedation is typically recommended for children with dental anxiety or a low pain threshold.

General anesthesia

General anesthesia is a form of deep sedation. During deep sedation, your child will be monitored and given a breathing tube while they sleep safely. If your child needs extensive dental work, oral surgery, or if they have behavioral needs, general anesthesia can help them sleep while their dentist performs their procedure.

For a team of dentists trained to treat children with special needs, call Stellar Kids Dentistry or schedule an appointment online today!