Dental Options for Kids with Sensory Issues

Dental Options for Kids with Sensory Issues

February 1, 2023

Pediatric dental problems, also called childhood tooth decay, are a chronic condition in America. If left untreated, childhood tooth decay affects the child’s health and wellness and can devastate them by causing problems like malnourishment, anemia, fatalities, and life-threatening secondary complications. In addition, untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease also affect your child’s self-esteem, social development, overall quality of life, and employment prospects.

Helping your child’s dental hygiene can be challenging if they struggle with sensory issues. This article gives you general information and helpful tips to establish appropriate dental hygiene practices with your child, besides providing specific dental care tips and suggesting assistance for children with sensory challenges to help them develop positive oral hygiene practices.

Sensory Issue Categories

Our senses constantly send information to our brains which isn’t a significant problem for most people. However, for children with sensory issues dealing with the consistent stream of sounds, images, tastes, and textures is challenging.

Children with sensory issues fall into two categories. They are the ones that look for sensory input and others that are oversensitive to sensory input. Therefore the dental office in North Port, FL, suggests the following approaches to facilitate at-home dental care for children falling into one of the two categories described.

Brushing Options for Kids with Sensory Issues

  • For Children That Are Sensory Seeking or Hyposensitivity: the dentist in North Port recommends using an electric toothbrush for higher sensory stimulation. They recommend pairing toothbrushing with a blanket, weighted vest, or a handheld fidget to help direct energy when brushing their teeth.
  • For Children Who Are Hypersensitive/Sensory Avoiding: in such cases, dentists recommend using a manual toothbrush to ensure speed and pressure are controlled comfortably. If the child is old to brush, they can safely do so. Parents can provide the child with chewing gum to help them get accustomed to having something in their mouth and massage their gums with a finger or dry brush before brushing, helping them prepare for brushing and flossing.

Some children are affected by both categories of sensory issues. In such cases, the kid’s dentist near you might recommend allowing the child to sample and choose their preferred toothpaste flavor and brush their teeth if they can safely do so to learn to remain in control of their movements and pressure.

Dental Appointment Preparation for Kids with Sensory Issues

Preparing your child for a dental visit for cleaning and an exam is challenging by itself because children don’t know what to expect from the dentist’s office. Therefore before you head to the pediatric dentist near you, it helps if you inquire with the professional about their experience and expertise to support your child’s unique needs by providing sufficient information about your child to ensure they are prepared as best as possible to manage your child appropriately.

If you think your child has anxiety issues, discuss the matter with the professionals to make them aware of the problem and prepare them for the appointment with your child accompanying you.

Dental Sedation for Kids with Sensory Issues

The sensory issues affecting your child may seem odd, but it helps if you prepare for the appointment by researching books that encourage your child to ask questions or share concerns with you before their visit to Dr. Jensen Bouton. At the dental practice, rest assured the dentist will care for your child appropriately by providing dental sedation to help them remain calm in the dentist’s chair while receiving the treatment they need without creating a stir.

The treatment your child receives from Dr. Jensen helps them overcome the sensory issues with their teeth and mouth to make it easier for them to care for dental health and wellness while growing up without complications.

The American Dental Association mentions that children develop their first tooth between six and 12 months and most of their teeth by age three. Unfortunately, tooth decay starts soon after a tooth erupts, making it essential to start brushing with fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice initially until the age of three. Children over three can receive a pea-sized grain on their toothbrush. Parents should supervise young children brushing their teeth twice daily and flossing at least once. Dental visits are also essential no later than the child’s first birthday.

If you think your child has sensory issues with their teeth, kindly do not hesitate to consult Shore Dental for help. The pediatric dentists at the office provide appropriate treatment for your child to help them overcome the problems they encounter when brushing their teeth.