Establishing a relationship of trust with a small patient is an art. Every doctor, dealing with children can confirm it. Great patience, love for children and hard work – these are the basic principles to achieve desired results. Concerning the kids with special needs, the guidelines are much more complicated. That is why our pediatric dentists are well-trained how to treat small patients with autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and other conditions and diagnosis.
Dental treatment of such children is not an easy process for a child himself, as well as for a doctor and parents. A close consultation of anesthesiologist is usually required before the treatment. The specialist assesses the risks associated with an underlying disease of a particular child and decides whether a small patient can be treated in clinic or a hospital is needed.
If it is necessary, we can organize a consultation of our dentist with a specialist observing a child on the underlying disease. The doctor should ensure that there is no acute form or stage of decompensation, when the child takes serious drugs. After all, safe dental treatment of a child is possible only when there is no risk of provoking underlying disease exacerbation.
The problem of communication and the originality of the patient’s thinking is another important issue which a dentist faces interacting with a special kid. A doctor tries to find a common language, finds motivation points which are accepted and comprehensive for a kid, in order to make a patient reveal himself and become accessible for treatment.
Tell-show-do method is the best bridge for building relationship between a dentists and a kid with special needs. The doctor tells the small patient about the treatment, shows the tools and equipment and asks to touch them. Such actions stimulate the child to believe the doctor. This method is especially effective for kids with autism, as visual and tactile information can be much more comprehensive than audial for them.
Oral sedation (nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”) can be of great help to make the kids keep calm during the procedure. It is a gas with a pleasant sweet taste, which the patient inhales through the mask. After a few breaths a child relaxes but at the same time remains conscious. The effect of sedation stops as soon as the mask is taken away. A kid breathes pure oxygen for some minutes and can go home if the treatment is over.
Nitrous oxide is an absolutely safe and highly effective medication, which has no side effects and doesn’t cause allergic reactions and addiction. Regrettably, not all the kids with special needs agree to wear mask and are too scared to breathe calmly. In such cases sleep anaesthesia is justified. Of course, our doctors try to consider the possibility of other methods but if they cannot be implemented, sleep anaesthesia is the only way to eliminate tooth infection.
Pediatric dentists from Village Dental Medicine know how to work with special kids, adapting them to dental procedure and instill the necessity of daily oral care skills. Of course, it is a painstaking work, but in cooperation with parents, it is completely real!