Dental Care for the Autistic Patient

People with loved ones affected by autism often have questions related to dental care. Dental exams and procedures can be frightening for anyone. For those with autism, not knowing what to expect can amplify the anxiety associated with seeing the dentist. This is as true for the adult with autism as it is for the child on the spectrum. Seeing them have to face conventional dentistry “for their health” can be emotionally wrenching for those who love them. In our NYC office, there are several options to complete dental care for autistic patients.

It is necessary to balance risks against benefits with any dental or medical care. It can take time to find a dentist for an autistic child or loved one, but the search is worth it. Dr. Siegelman are a resource for patients in the New York City area.

Elevating the Standard of Dental Care for Autistic and Special Needs Patients

In the average setting, the best course of action is to have patience and understanding for those who have difficulty sitting through routine dental visits. The concept is that, with time, the patient will become more comfortable in the dental environment and be able to tolerate visits. This process can be long but is possible, as outlined in the Autism Speaks Dental Guide. Each patient has individual needs and, some require sedation to accomplish quality dental care.

One option in our NYC office is nitrous oxide sedation; depending on the patient’s needs, it can provide a sufficient degree of relaxation to tolerate dental exams, cleanings, and other services. This method of dental sedation has been used for over 100 years. It has been proven safe for patients of all ages and is appealing due to its quick response time. While it may not be the best choice for every patient, nitrous oxide is a worthwhile option to consider. Its effects develop quickly, within a few moments, and they wear off just as fast, so the patient isn’t left groggy.

When necessary, families of autistic people can talk to a dentist about oral conscious sedation or IV sedation. As a dental anesthesiologist, Dr. Siegelman has the additional training that special needs families can feel confident in when choosing a dentist. Ultimately, each patient requires and is deserving of the thought and planning that results in the best possible care.

Do you have a loved one on the spectrum or with other needs that may create an aversion to dental care? Contact us at (212) 974-8737 to discuss how we can help make dental visits more pleasant. 

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