Dental Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs – Boston Children's Hospital

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The Department of Dentistry at Boston Children’s Hospital cares for children, adolescents, teens and people with special health care needs, like autism spectrum disorders.

Each member of our pediatric dentistry staff has experience treating children with wide range of medical and emotional needs. And since we work within Boston Children’s, we’re familiar with the dental aspects of any given condition and know what questions to ask the rest of your child’s medical team.

We also understand that medically compromised children have special limits, both physically and emotionally. If a child is in a wheelchair, we know how to position them so they can stay in their wheelchair during their dental appointment. For children with autism, we try to keep the dental staff, along with the day and time of their appointments, consistent. We may also use weighted blankets on children who require them.

Anxiety and nervousness are also concerns that we address. This might mean giving children some time during their initial visit to explore the dental office and explaining what we will be doing during the procedure. We’ll go slowly through each dental technique, sometimes demonstrating them on a parent or favorite stuffed animal first.

Since we know how difficult it can be caring for a child’s teeth at home, we have recommendations for parents and caregivers on ways that can make it easier. We encourage parents to ask us for suggestions on brushing teeth at home and ways to help them put their child at less risk for tooth decay.

In addition to routine comprehensive dental care, our services include:

– dental visits in the dental clinic on a more frequent basis
– pre-surgery examinations for children undergoing major medical procedures
– emergency dental services
– full mouth dental rehabilitation (outpatient basis, or in the operating room when
appropriate)
– oral hygiene and dietary counseling comprehensive cavity protection programs

Dr. Suheily Aponte is a pediatric dentist with the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. For more information, please visit https://www.nicklauschildrens.org/Dental
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