ASD children need to go to a dentist on a regular basis just like everyone else. If a parent has been brushing their gums and teeth since the children were infants, then it won’t be as challenging as a parent thinks. Dental visits need to start very young, about age three, even if the child isn’t speaking, because they will help get him or her used to the dental chair and other people poking around in their mouths. Some kids on the spectrum think it’s a blast, especially when the dentists have massaging dental chairs to calm their little patients (and even their big patients!).
When started early, there is rarely a problem with any child on the spectrum accepting a trip to the dentist. If good oral hygiene is practiced at home and sweets are kept to a minimum, then parents never have to worry about having a cavity filled either. The biggest thing parents need to remember is that if their ASD child(ren) see fear, anxiety or nervousness on their parents’ faces, they will begin to to experience those feelings with going to the dentist too.
Parents should be calm and smile, explain to their children what the dentist will do, maybe even get a library book or two on visiting a dentist to help their kids understand that it’s okay. A parent who approaches it with apprehension and the expectation that it will all go south and then dig their heels in and tell their child that “you have to go. You can’t avoid going to the dentist, and that’s that,” will only find that the experience is really horrible and not something they or their children are going to want to repeat.
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