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Special Needs Pediatric Dentist in Hurst, TX

Pediatric Special Needs Dentist Near Hurst, TX

Does My Child Have Special Health Care Needs?

The definition of a special health care need may be broader than you think. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines a special health care need 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, and specialized knowledge is needed to provide them with proper dental care.

Are Children with Special Needs More Likely to Suffer from Oral Diseases?

Research suggests that children with special health care needs may have a higher risk of developing oral diseases and/or suffering from oral trauma than other children. Intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and other special health care needs can increase the risk of dental disease and trauma in children for a variety of reasons, including the following:

  • An intellectual disability may make it difficult for a child to understand how to practice proper oral hygiene or the importance of doing so.
  • A physical disability may make it difficult or impossible for a child to implement proper oral hygiene practices without assistance.
  • A child with special health care needs may experience greater levels of dental anxiety than other children, leading the child to visit the dentist less frequently.
  • Seizures or impaired motor skills may increase a child’s risk of oral trauma.
  • Certain medical conditions can affect the development of the teeth and jaws.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, ADHD and sleep apnea, can be associated with teeth grinding (bruxism), which can wear down and damage a child’s teeth.
  • Medical conditions and treatments that suppress the immune system, such as HIV and cancer therapies, can increase the risk of oral fungal infections like oral candidiasis.
  • Some medical conditions, such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes, can cause dry mouth. Saliva is your child’s natural tooth-cleaning agent – it washes away food particles and helps your child’s teeth to regain minerals and reverse damage caused by cariogenic (cavity-causing) bacteria. As a result, decreased saliva production increases your child’s risk of developing cavities and other oral diseases.
  • A child with special health care needs may need to take a medication that causes dry mouth.
  • A child’s special health care need may require frequent and/or expensive medical appointments. When time and financial resources are limited, other health concerns may be prioritized over dental care.

Why Special Needs Children Should See A Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists are dental specialists who receive extensive training in areas such as special needs dentistry, child psychology, child pharmacology, and pediatric sedation dentistry and behavior management. They know how to explain procedures to patients using developmentally-appropriate language, strategies for managing dental anxiety, and how to properly coordinate care with patients’ pediatricians and other care providers.

Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Patients in Hurst, TX

Dr. Lin is a board-certified pediatric dentist with extensive experience treating children with special health care needs. He completed his pediatric dental specialty training at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine/Boston Children’s Hospital, where he worked with children with a wide variety of special health care needs, including children with Down syndrome, cancer, and rare syndromes. He now serves patients from Hurst and the surrounding areas, including Euless, Bedford, Colleyville, Southlake, Keller, North Richland Hills, Arlington and Irving. Call our office today at (817) 587-0495 to speak with our staff or request an appointment for your child online.

This article is intended to provide general information about oral health topics. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any disease or as a substitute for the advice of a healthcare professional who is fully aware of and familiar with the specifics of your case. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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