Sensory processing disorder (SPD) is often diagnosed along with other developmental disorders such as autism. If a child has sensory issues, it may affect one sense or several, including the sense of touch. Children who suffer from sensory processing issues can find it especially difficult to deal with everyday situations such as going to the dentist, but they still need to have regular checkups and receive proper dental care.
Here are some tips to help your sensory processing disorder child have a happier, less-stressful trip to the dentist:
Help your dentist understand your child's needs
Not every dentist is familiar with sensory processing disorder, but those who are experienced with treating children with special needs are more likely to understand your child's sensory issues. If you already have a dentist, but they do not understand your child's disorder, explain it to them.
It may help to print out some information on the disorder, and highlight the particular issues your child faces. If your child is particularly sensitive to touch and oral stimulation, your dentist should know before treating them.
Understand your child's fears
Knowing what types of stimuli affect your child can greatly help your dentist treat them without over-stressing your child. Dismissing your child's fears or forcing them to undergo treatment when they are suffering from over-stimulation can be traumatic and counterproductive, because they will likely refuse to come back to the dentist without putting up a fight in the future.
Respect that your child's fears are valid, and that they do not choose to react so strongly to the stimuli at the dentist's office. If it were up to your child, they would rather have "normal" or neurotypical responses, so try to be patient with them when they get anxious or upset.
Communication is key
As important as it is for you to communicate with your child's dentist about any details regarding their sensory issues, it's just as important that the dentist and hygienists communicate everything that they are doing to your child.
Often, by simply telling your child what they are going to do in a step-by-step manner, it can help your child to get through the visit without getting overly distressed. By knowing exactly what to expect at every step, your child may be able to handle the process a little better, creating a positive experience that will make future visits easier.
Good dental hygiene is important for every child, and regular visits to a children's dentist can help your child maintain a healthy smile. Use these tips to help your child with sensory processing issues have a positive experience at the dentist every time. To learn more, contact a company like Children's Dental Center Of Central Iowa PLC with any questions you have.