Dental Sedation For Children With Autism: Is It Helpful?

Dentist Blog

It has been found that, while children with autism don't have any dental problems directly related to their condition, certain dietary habits and inadequate oral hygiene can put them at greater risk of dental problems. But you could say that about anyone. Regardless of a person's autism, maintaining oral health involves taking the best possible care of their teeth and having regular dental checkups. Those visits to the dentist can potentially be a problem for someone with autism. If you have a child with autism, how can you make their dental visits as uncomplicated as possible?


The problem with autism and dentistry can be the patient's wariness of a new person (the dentist) and a new environment (the dentist's surgery). Your child's wariness and general suspicion of the dentist can be reduced with familiarity, so you might find that their reaction to a dental appointment becomes less of an issue with each visit. This is not always the case, and it's different for each child. 


It can be a problem for the dentist to communicate to your child just why they need to perform a certain task. Your child might not easily understand why a particular procedure has to be performed, and this can create some resistance from them. Clearly, this can cause problems with your child receiving the most effective treatment from their dentist. This is why dental sedation can be helpful for children with autism. 


Dental sedation services can be broken down into three categories. Conscious sedation is when the patient is calm and relaxed but still aware of what is happening. Deep sedation goes further, and while the patient stays conscious, they're less aware of their surroundings and might not be able to recall the details of their dental treatment. Full sedation is just that — when the patient is put into a state of unconsciousness. The best form of dental sedation depends on your child and the procedure they need to undergo. 

Administering Sedation

Your dentist will determine the most appropriate type of sedation for your child and the best way to administer it. Conscious sedation is often achieved using nitrous oxide, but an injection can be used for deep and full sedation. A dentist published a case study detailing the difficulties that they had sedating a patient with autism, eventually determining that the best option for this patient was via the submucosal route, which is an injection directly into the mucous membrane. It can be different for each patient.

The use of sedation for your child's dentist visits should be discussed with your dentist (and with your child), but it can be a way to ensure that your child's autism doesn't prevent them from receiving the highest level of care.

To learn more, contact a resource that offers dental sedation services.


27 October 2020

Emergency Dental Care

The average dentist takes many client appointments each day and also deals with emergency situations on a regular basis. Dental emergencies are very common because people are likely to put off having tooth pain fixed until the pain becomes unbearable. Some people have anxiety about dental visits, and others are trying to avoid the expense of dental care. In either case, the end result is often a dental emergency. I have worked as a professional dental hygienist for many years and have seen all types of dental emergencies. I hope that this blog will help people identify potential emergencies before they become too serious and will allow people to know when to get help.