Tips for Dental Care for a Child with Autism

Taking care of a child with autism can bring about a lot of interesting challenges, even when it comes to oral health. Here is a look at a few important dental care tips to keep in mind if you have a child with autism.

1. Break down oral care routines at home into small tasks.

To the average child, brushing teeth is simply brushing teeth. However, when you look at the process of brushing your teeth, there are a number of steps involved. Autism Speaks offers a helpful list that actually shows how just teeth brushing can be broken down into 25 unique steps. For a child with autism, breaking down the different steps can be a more effective and less overwhelming way to handle the full task. Therefore, you may focus on brushing your child’s teeth for them until they can master each individual step (or most of them) on their own.

2. Consider more frequent oral hygiene visits if necessary.

If you have a particularly difficult time getting your child with autism to brush their teeth, it can be a good idea to schedule more oral hygiene visits at the dentist. Normally, children should have a cleaning about two times per year. But this schedule is recommended for average children who are either brushing or allowing their parents to brush their teeth for them on a pretty regular basis. More frequent visits may be necessary to keep plaque accumulation at bay and thwart the risks of decay.

3. Explain your child’s specific issues to the dentist.

Not every autistic child is the same, so the dentist is not going to know specifically what to expect when treating your child if they have autism. Take the time to speak with the dentist about things like:

  • Specific sensory issues your child may have (e.g. fears of loud noises or bright lights)
  • Oral health concerns you have
  • Developmental or communication issues your child has

A Lincoln Pediatric Dentist Can Help

Oral health is so important to the overall well-being of every child. If you are looking for a good dentist for your child with autism, reach out to us at Korte Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment.

 

Does My Child Need Braces?

Many children who need braces begin treatment around the ages of 10 to 11 years old. In reality, however, no one is ever too old for smile improvement. In fact, more and more adults are using braces to straighten and align teeth for a more perfect smile. For children, braces may be recommended if chewing is difficult or if upper and lower teeth don’t meet as they should. If you worry your child may need braces, see your dental specialist to start a conversation.

Signs Your Child May Need Braces

There are several things to look for when considering whether your child may benefit from braces. These include:

  • Crowding
  • Gaps
  • Permanent teeth that are growing in crooked or overlapping other teeth
  • Jawline that protrudes or recesses
  • Teeth that seem out of proportion

For a majority of children, braces are simply cosmetic, meaning they help fix smile imperfections. It’s important to note, however, that sometimes misaligned teeth can cause physical issues as well. If your child complains of pain, a jaw that cracks or shifts, or accidentally bites the inside of his cheek or tongue frequently, see your pediatric dentist right away.

Why Opt for Braces?

As an adult, you want to look and feel your best. Its’ important to remember that children have that need, as well — especially adolescents who are notoriously impacted by the opinions of their peers. If your child struggles with teeth that are crooked or overlap, or if they have unsightly gaps that need to be addressed, their self-esteem may suffer accordingly. There are some features of your child’s appearance over which they may have little or no control, such as feeling too tall or too short, disliking their hair color, or wishing they looked more like someone else. But the appearance of their teeth is an easy fix with the simple addition of braces.

Contact Korte Family Dentistry Today

For those in the area of Lincoln, NE, Korte Family Dentistry is your go-to option for braces. If you’d like to start a conversation regarding whether braces may be a good fit for your adolescent child, call today to book an initial consultation. Our experienced dental care team is friendly and always professional, and we specialize in setting you and your child at ease. Call today for an appointment.

 

How to Help Your Child Relax Before a Dentist Visit

Does your child get anxious about going to the dentist? Or is it their first visit and they are worried about what will happen? Use these tips to help your child relax.

Sandwich Visits

Don’t make the dental visit the focus of the day; instead, make it part of the day. For example, bring your child to the park in the morning to play. Stop for a light snack. Visit the dentist. On the way home, swing past the local lake to feed the ducks or your child’s favorite activity center. That way, the dentist visit will be just a routine activity in a busy, fun-filled day.

 

Don’t Worry

Kids pick up on adult emotions. If you start to worry that your child will become anxious, they probably will get anxious by picking up on your fearful emotions. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your child will be.

 

Reward Each Visit

Give your child something nice to look forward to after every dentist’s visit. This way, you’ll be reinforcing the positive. For instance, reward each visit by letting your child choose what’s for supper that night, letting them stay up 15 minutes later than usual, or letting them read in bed with a flashlight after “lights out.” Just avoid monetary rewards or physical “treats” like ice cream, as that can set up a precedent that’s unsustainable.

 

Consider Sedative Dentistry

If you are still having problems quelling your child’s anxiety about dentist visits, talk to your dentist about sedative dentistry for children. This is a very, very mild sedative that can help your child relax in minutes. It’s FDA-approved and has no lingering after-effects. It’s typically administered with a child-friendly inhaler that takes just a few seconds to work.

 

Explain the Procedure

Kids are easily scared by the unknown. If you’re looking at your child’s first dentist visit, go ahead and describe exactly what will happen. Your child will relax more when they know exactly what to expect; especially when they find out that you’ll be by their side during the entire visit.

When you help your child relax about dentist visits, you are helping to set them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and preventing fear of the dentist. Contact us today to book an appointment.

 

Preventing Children’s Cavities

There’s a common misconception that cavities are a rite of passage. Many parents incorrectly believe that it’s perfectly normal for children to get cavities. unfortunately, this can lead to a blasé attitude about children’s dental health. In reality, cavities never have to occur. If you take some simple precautions when your children are young, they may never have to have a cavity filled in their entire childhood.

Dental Sealants

Ask your dentist about getting dental sealants applied to your children’s teeth. This new and innovative dental treatment works wonders in preventing children’s cavities. Essentially, dental sealants are a thin, invisible coating that keeps bacteria from being able to eat into your children’s teeth. They are completely non-invasive and painless for your child. The treatment itself is similar to receiving an oral rinse. Dental sealants are safe for children of all ages. Your dentist can provide you with more details.

Regular Dental Checkups

Did you know that your child should have their first dental checkup even before their first tooth appears? The reason is that oral bacteria can affect gums as well as teeth. With regular dental checkups you and your child’s dentist can be proactive in tackling any dental issues that may arise. Talk to your family dentist about when you should make your first appointment for your child. Remember that when you teach your child to visit the dentist regularly, they will likely keep that habit their entire lives. This can ensure a lifetime of good dental health for your child.

Good Nutrition

Preventing children’s cavities is partially about good nutrition. Children’s teeth need vitamins and minerals to grow strong and healthy. Pay careful attention to your child’s diet to make sure they’re getting the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals they need. In general, you want to limit sugary snacks and drinks. Juices are good, but remember that natural sugars can damage teeth just as much as processed sugars. When you practice good nutrition in the entire household it becomes easier to ensure your child is eating properly, too.

Use these tips to help keep your child from getting cavities. Keep in mind that cavities don’t have to be a part of life. With proper care and attention, your child never has to get a cavity.

Benefits of Composite Fillings for Pediatric Cavities

Cavities in childhood are common because children just aren’t as attentive when they brush and floss and some kids simply do not like to brush their teeth. For a long time, amalgam fillings were the typical type of filling material for pediatric cavities. However, a composite filling has quickly become the most preferred option for a lot of parents and dentists. Here is a look at some of the benefits of composite fillings for pediatric cavities.

Composite fillings are shaded to match your child’s teeth.

Amalgam fillings have a dark grey color, which makes them very visible in contrast to the color of the teeth. Even once a filling is repaired, amalgam fillings can make it look like your child’s tooth or teeth still have damage, and that can be bothersome to a self-conscious child. The composite filling material is tinted by the dentist so it matches the color of your child’s tooth as closely as possible. The finished result is a repaired tooth that looks like there is nothing wrong with it at all.

Composite fillings do not contain metal compounds.

Even though amalgam dental fillings have been deemed as safe in studies, they do contain metal components, such as silver and mercury. Some parents are uncomfortable with the idea of introducing foreign metals into their child’s mouth. On the other hand, composite fillings are made out of ceramic and resinous compounds; they do not contain any metals.

Composite fillings are highly resilient and can last for years.

Amalgam fillings are exceptionally durable, but that does not mean composite fillings are not strong and resilient. Composite fillings can actually last for many years if they are done properly. For example, your child may get a composite filling in one of their first molars and that filling will last them well into adulthood as long as good oral hygiene practices are followed.

Many parents do not realize that they have a choice when their child needs a cavity filled, but most dentists do offer either amalgam or composite fillings. If you need a bit of guidance about the types of fillings available for pediatric cavity fillings, reach out to us at Korte Family Dentistry for advice.

 

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