February is Children’s Dental Health Month!
We know visiting the dentist can be a struggle for some kids and we’re excited to be able to give kids the opportunity to help change their perspective of going to the dentist at our upcoming Dental Day on Monday, February 20th!
If you can’t make it to our Dental Day, take a minute and read through some of the helpful tips below.
A Visit to the Dentist
There are a multitude of sensory experiences in a dental office. Think about the following as you are preparing your sensory-sensitive or sensory-seeking child for a visit to the dentist.
Visual: There are bright lights and a lot of equipment that can be overwhelming to a sensory-sensitive child. This can also cause increased excitability and increased activity level for some children.
Auditory: The sounds of drills, polishers and other tools, possibly the sounds of upset children, and the buzz of people talking can cause a child to become overstimulated, or can cause increased distractibility.
Olfactory: The smells from the cleaning paste, filling substances, and the “dental office” smell can increase stress and emotional responses from children.
Gustatory: There are a variety of tastes that will touch the tongue. The taste of the pastes, the metallic taste from the tools, and the taste of the gloves can cause a negative response in some children.
Tactile: The sensation of people touching his face, mouth, and teeth can cause a sensory-sensitive child to have a meltdown. The temperature from the tools on the tongue can also cause upset. Pain from injections or any touch interpreted as pain in a sensory-sensitive child can cause him to enter the fight or flight state. There is also the touch from the paper bib that is placed on the child that can cause distress. Sensory seekers may be tempted to touch all the equipment at inopportune times.
Vestibular: The chair moves up and down and tips backward. For a child who is sensitive to movement, this can elicit the fight or flight response. Sensory-seeking children may enjoy the movement of the chair, but may find it challenging to sit still for a long time during the completion of the appointment.
Refer to our Sensory Strategies resource (here) for tips on how to prepare for a successful dental visit and don’t forget about our Dental Day on Monday, February 20th!