Supporting Kids with Sensory Disorders at the Dentist

Childrens Dentist Indianapolis IN

A trip to the dentist might be full of unfamiliar sights, sounds, scents, and feelings. The profusion of feelings and stimuli might be overwhelming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or particular sensory difficulties. On the other hand, visiting the Children Dental Center Indianapolis IN regularly is an essential aspect of developing a strong oral health program for youngsters.

This article will provide suggestions for helping children with autism develop good oral hygiene practices and prepare for frequent dental checkups. It is said that practice makes perfect. Brushing a child’s teeth regularly is important for oral health, but some autistic children and those with sensory problems have difficulty doing so. For several reasons, this may be challenging.

Sensory-Seeking Children

Brushing your child’s teeth might assist in calming them down if they are sensory seeking. Consider using a revolving or electric toothbrush to give extra stimulation and guarantee that all teeth are fully cleansed. Parents may sing a song like “This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth” to ensure that their kid spends enough time brushing their teeth.

Hesitancy may be due to the flavor of the toothpaste, the feeling in and around their mouth, or a mixture of variables for sensory avoiders. A range of unflavored toothpaste options may benefit youngsters concerned about taste.

Toothbrushing Tolerance for Sensory Avoiders

According to dentists, all children should be actively monitored while cleaning their teeth until they are 7-8 years old. Until they are a little older, some youngsters may need parental help cleaning their teeth. Consider a progressive approach to supporting your kid in brushing or having their teeth cleaned to help them feel more comfortable. Once your youngster is comfortable with the previous step, you may go to the next stage in the routine.

  • Begin by applying light pressure to the back of their head for five seconds and then repeat three times. Do this three to five times a day, ideally when your youngster is cleaning their teeth.
  • While most people brush their teeth in the bathroom, you may choose to do it in a different part of the house where your kid is more at ease.
  • Once your kid is comfortable with pressure on the back of their head, you may expand the practice by applying pressure to other parts of the head and face, such as below the ear and the lower cheekbone, using deep sweeping strokes with your hands from the ear to the chin.
  • Using your hands, apply pressure to the lower and upper lips and the higher cheeks.
  • Instead of using your hands, repeat the aforementioned pressure procedure using a warm washcloth, encouraging your kid to allow you to touch their teeth with the washcloth.
  • Once your kid is comfortable with the washcloth touching their teeth, you may start using a soft-bristled toothbrush without toothpaste.
  • When your kid is ready, use a pea-sized quantity of toothpaste.

It may also be beneficial to demonstrate how you clean your teeth to your kid or brush alongside them. It’s crucial to note that each kid, regardless of ASD or sensory processing challenges, will have their timeframe for acquiring each skill and feeling confident brushing their teeth independently.

Getting Ready for Your Dental Visit

Preparing children with autism for their dental appointment in advance may go a long way toward reducing anxiety and ensuring a smooth and effective visit. Many locations will enable you to arrange tour weeks or days before your scheduled appointment so that your youngster feels more at ease in that environment. Before the visit, be sure to address your child’s specific requirements, concerns, or issues with the dentist or staff.

A visual calendar, also known as a social tale, may be quite useful in preparing youngsters for their dental appointment. Before going on, practice each step until your kid understands and feels comfortable with it, just like you did with the sensory avoidance routine.

Breaking the procedure down into smaller, repeatable phases may be beneficial. For example, you and your kid may go to the dentist together, meet the front-desk employees, sit in the chair without getting any treatment, and return home with a gift. This kind of gradual introduction may be beneficial in reducing anxiety and increasing familiarity.

A Visual Schedule for a Dentist Visit

A visual timetable for a trip to the Childrens Dentist Indianapolis IN is shown below. This dentist appointment visual schedule is also available for download. Some families find it beneficial to laminate this timetable or cut out each stage and Velcro them together on a timeline. Each stage is marked off using a dry-erase marker or deleted from the timeline when it is accomplished.

  • We’ll go to the dentist today to ensure my teeth and mouth are lovely, clean, and healthy. • We’ll enter the clinic and give the front desk our names, then play games, color, or watch television until they call my name.
  • The hygienist will call my name and accompany me to a room with several unique seats.
  • The unique chair will swivel and recline back to allow the Kids Dentist Indianapolis IN to examine my teeth.
  • When I sit in the chair, my hands will be on my stomach, and my legs and feet will be straight out in front of me.
  • I’ll open my mouth as wide as I can to allow the Dentist to examine the interior of my mouth. They will be able to see since there will be a strong light. If it’s too light, I may ask for special sunglasses or shut my eyes.
  • The dentist will use a special mirror to count my teeth. It could itch a bit.
  • The dentist will take X-Rays, which are unique photographs of my teeth. I may have to sit in a separate chair and wear a thick apron to capture these photos.
  • The dentist will use special instruments to clean my teeth. Before we use them, they’ll show me each one and explain it.
  • I’ll spit into the sink once my teeth are clean, and the Pediatric Dentist Indianapolis IN will give me a special bag containing a new toothbrush and toothpaste. When I leave the workplace, I’ll also get a special gift.


With good practice and preparation, regular dental appointments for children with autism spectrum disorder, sensory difficulties, or general anxiety may not have to be an unpleasant or problematic occasion.