Is My Special Needs Child More Likely to Have Dental Issues?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines special health care needs as “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs.” Children with such special needs often have unique concerns when it comes to their oral health.

Dental Concerns of Children with Special Needs

Children with special health care needs may have a higher riskof developing oral diseases and/or experiencing oral trauma. This is true for avariety of reasons. In some cases, the child’s impairment itself can negativelyaffect the child’s oral health. For example, special needs patients may beunable to understand or take responsibility for preventative oral healthpractices; they may experience greater levels of dental anxiety and, as aresult, visit the dentist less frequently; they may have a greater risk of oraltrauma due to seizures or motor skill issues; they may have conditions thataffect saliva production or how the oral structure and teeth develop; they maygrind their teeth, a condition known as bruxism, which can wear down and damageteeth; etc.

Moreover, special needs patients may need to take medicationsthat adversely affect their oral health. For example, their medications maycontain sugar or they may cause dry mouth (in which case there would be lesssaliva to wash away food and reduce cavity-causing bacteria).

Additionally, when timeand financial resources are limited, other health concerns are oftenprioritized over dental care, especially when the connection between oralhealth and overall health is not well understood.

How Can a Board-Certified Pediatric Dentist Help?

As a Board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Lin is specially trainedto treat children with special needs. After graduating from dental school,Board-certified pediatric dentists undergo additional training in areas such asanxiety management and behavior guidance appropriate to each child’s stage ofdevelopment. Dr. Lin has experience working with children with a wide varietyof special health care needs. He can work with you to determine the bestoptions for your child, taking into account any unique needs and the desiredtreatment outcomes.

Special Needs Dental Care in Hurst, TX

At Hurst Pediatric Dentistry, we have the training and experience needed to provide quality, individualized care for our special needs patients. Whatever your child’s needs are, we are here to help. Call us at (817) 510-6400 and schedule an appointment today! We look forward to working with you to ensure your child enjoys a healthy smile for years to come.