Parents of children with special needs have especially high standards for their health care providers – including their kids’ dentists. We understand those high standards and strive to live up to them.
At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, we’re committed to providing compassionate care for your child with special needs. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to offering specialized dental care to kids with special needs.
We are proud to provide comprehensive dentistry for children and those with special needs.
Why Do Kids with Special Needs Need Specialized Dental Care?
Children and young adults with disabilities and other special needs are more likely to develop oral health problems.
These problems could be the result of a specific health condition, or they could be related to difficulty with oral hygiene, managing routines, and avoiding uncomfortable dental treatments.
These are some issues your child with special needs might experience:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Misaligned teeth
- Grinding teeth
- Tongue thrust
- Oral malformations
- Delayed eruption of baby teeth and adult teeth
- Trauma from falls and injuries
In addition to an increased risk of conditions like these, it can be a challenge for patients with special needs to access routine dental health care.
Long-term use of medications, food pouching, and muscle issues can also cause oral health problems in patients with special needs and disabilities.
Challenges to Accessing Dental Care for Patients With Special Needs
At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, we understand that your child may struggle with the experience of a routine dental appointment.
Your child may have sensory issues, difficulty processing instructions, attention limitations, and physical challenges that make it hard for them to sit for an appointment and have someone they don’t know look in their mouth and clean their teeth.
- Physical disabilities may make it more complicated to get to a dentist’s office and get into the exam chair.
- Patients with autism or sensory processing disorder may become overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, smells, and tactile experiences of being at the dentist’s office.
- Some learning and developmental disabilities make it difficult for children to understand and respond to instructions.
- Patients with vision or hearing impairments may need special accommodations during their visit.
- Patients with ADHD may have trouble staying on task, sitting still for their exam, or waiting in between the multiple stages of a dentist appointment.
- A variety of medical conditions can cause additional challenges, including pain or discomfort during the exam.
Of course, there may be other challenges. If you’re still thinking, “None of those is my kid. My kid is really tough,” that’s okay. We’ll work with you to find what will work best for your child.
How We Keep Patients with Special Needs Comfortable at the Dentist’s Office
As pediatric dentists, our job is to support the oral health of all of our patients in a way that helps them feel safe, comfortable, and anxiety-free. This includes our patients with special needs.
We listen to you and your child.
At Ashburn Children’s Dentistry, every patient is important and valuable, and we take the time to learn about their dental history, medical background, and issues of concern.
We want every patient and parent who comes into office to feel heard! If you have concerns about how your child will react to treatment, we can work together to come up with a solution.
We Get to Know Your Child
Pediatric dental appointments are most successful when the provider and the patient have a friendly relationship based on respect and care.
We want to know who your child is so that we can provide him or her with the best care possible. We get to know your child so that they can trust us. Children with special needs may be wary of strangers and new situations, so one of our goals is to make sure your child doesn’t feel like they are with someone they don’t know.
Our patients love going to the dentist because it is like seeing a friend!
We Answer Your Questions — and Your Child’s Questions
When you or your child has a question, we take the time to answer.
You will never be treated like a burden or an inconvenience when you have questions about your child’s dental care. Dentistry for children and those with special needs may be complicated, and we are ready to anticipate and answer all of your questions.
Common questions from our patients and their caregivers include:
- What dental procedures are best for my child?
- How should we practice oral hygiene at home?
- How will my child’s diagnosis affect their oral health?
- How can I protect my child’s teeth, gums, and mouth?
- How will you make sure my child’s experience is a positive one?
We’ll gladly talk you through these questions and more.
We Believe in Providing Thoughtful, Empathetic Care
We do not rush our patients through their appointments.
We believe in providing kind, empathetic, and patient-centered care to everyone who visits our office. We promote kindness and empathy throughout our business, from the office staff to the hygienists and dentists.
In addition to the accommodations above, we also take into consideration the following:
- Current medications
- Your child’s unique medical history
- Behavioral differences
- Communication needs
- Neuromuscular issues
We Adapt to Your Child’s Needs
Children with special needs often require adaptive technologies or processes in order to receive safe, comfortable dental care.
Some of our adaptations to provide dentistry for patients with special needs include:
- Offering sedation dentistry for children with anxiety or sensory issues
- Modified appointment times (longer or shorter), based on the patient’s needs
- Encouraging children to bring comfort items like stuffed animals or blankets
- Wearing clear face-shields or open-windowed masks for hearing-impaired patients
- Rearranging the exam room to provide a safer environment (i.e., moving items away from patients who have seizures or may grab dental tools)
- Making the exam room more sensory-friendly (dimmed lights, reduced noise, etc)
- We offer private rooms by request when scheduling or if we determine that your child would benefit from that
Our Office Is Fully Accessible
Our office is fully accessible. We go above and beyond ADA requirements to ensure that all of our patients have equal access to comprehensive and routine dental care.
Schedule an Appointment with Ashburn Children’s Dentistry
You can schedule your first appointment online or give us a call at (703) 723-8440 to ask us any questions you may have about dental care from Ashburn Children’s Dentistry.
We can also do “pre-appointments,” where your child can come to our office, get to know us, and become more familiar with the experience of going to the dentist — all before we need to start doing any exams or treatments!