Many people feel anxious when having to visit the dentist, however, it tends to be a very different feeling and especially challenging for those on the autism spectrum. Sensory and communication issues combined with the difficulty of staying still can make routine dental work seem impossible. Trips to the dentist do not have to be traumatic. Contact Dental on Central, if you or a loved one is in need of a skilled dentist who works with autistic patients. Our Phoenix dentist for autism knows that every person or child with autism is unique and we will create an individualized treatment plan that best suits their needs. Call (602) 266-1776 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.
Officially named Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Autism is defined as a “…broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and non-verbal communication.” The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 54 children are affected by autism in the United States. As it is a spectrum disorder, individuals with autism can range from highly-skilled to severely challenged when it comes to learning, speaking, and problem solving. While some developmental delays present themselves early on, most indicators appear by age 2 or 3. There are studies that show intervening early can lead to more positive outcomes for people with autism later in life.
According to studies, autism can develop before any delays are noticeable and possibly before the child is even born. Potential causes that scientists have studied include genetics, environmental factors, diet, immune systems, vaccines, parental ages, societal changes, and many more. As with any diagnosis, it’s important to start treatment early to ensure the child has the best chance at a quality life.
As this is a spectrum disorder, the symptoms can vary from mild to severe. The most common symptoms of autism include:
Most experts agree that there is no cure for autism, only ways to manage the developmental disability. However, since the discovery of autism in the 1940’s, there have been many steps taken to learn about the condition and how to treat it. With early recognition and treatment, it is possible to reduce the severity of the symptoms as the child ages.
Since Autism is a spectrum disorder, treatments work differently for each individual. It’s very difficult to make a blanket diagnosis as to how one person will respond to a specific treatment initially and over time.
In most cases, early treatment provides the best outcome. The goal of early treatment is to help toddlers manage their anxiety while in social situations and to lessen challenging behavior. Services can include speech therapy, behavioral therapy and occupational therapy which can start around the age of 3. As the child enters into school later on, Individual Education Plans (IEP) are recommended to improve communication, self-care, behavior, and socializing.
Some dental problems are genetic, however poor dental care can result in issues with oral health. Sometimes, patients on the autism spectrum struggle with in-home dental care, just as they do while at the dentist. Providing the proper amount of dental care every day can be taxing for a caregiver. Common dental problems seen in autistic patients include:
Many patients with autism have a difficult time communicating they are in pain. Due to this, dental problems can become so advanced that surgery may be required as a fix.
Our Phoenix dentists for autism believe in providing comprehensive treatment and skilled dental services that address both the short and long-term dental care needs of our autistic patients. Common services we provide are:
When more complex dental services are required, our special needs dentists are available within our clinics, not with a referral across town.
In some cases, the experience of visiting the dentist may be too distressing, despite the priming and preparation. Many patients with autism simply do not want anyone putting things in their mouths or touching their teeth and it may even feel painful. An alternative approach is sedation dentistry. Sedation is great for both children and adults feel relaxed and anxiety-free during dental procedures.
There are different types of sedation, including Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation (pill form), and IV sedation (general anesthesia). Nitrous Oxide is one of the most common forms of dental sedation and is often used for children. It is the least invasive method, as the patient remains conscious throughout the procedure, and the effects wear off fairly quickly.
In addition, sedation dentistry allows for multiple and complex dental procedures to be completed in one appointment, removing the stress of a second office visit.
Our Phoenix dentists for autism have an extensive amount of experience successfully working with patients on the autism spectrum. When sedation dentistry is the only option for ensuring a patient with autism is getting the oral care they need, we offer it in house, following a consultation with Dr. Anthony Herro, a special needs dentist. For any questions and to schedule an appointment today, call (602) 266-1776 or fill out our online form.