What is Special Needs Dentistry?

What is Special Needs Dentistry? Grand Rapids, MI

Everyone smiles in the same language. Unfortunately, it can be difficult finding a pediatric dentist with the experience to treat a child with special needs. If your child has a medical, physical, developmental, or cognitive condition that prevents them from getting the dental care they need, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. Dr. Kingma has experience treating children who require special consideration so they can maintain beautiful healthy smiles.

Continue reading to learn more about special needs dentistry and what makes it different from other branches of dental care.

Does my child need a special needs dentist?

Many special needs children benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists go through an additional 2 years of training beyond dental school that prepares them for working with children of all needs and abilities. A general dentist doesn't have this experience and won't be as qualified to provide dental care for your child.

A special needs dentist understands that each child is different. What works for one child may not work for anther. For example, children with autism can sometimes become overwhelmed by breaks to their normal routines, bright lights, and strange noises. In this situation, we might explain to your child what they can expect during their appointment and ask you to come to the room with us.

Your child will benefit the most by seeing a dentist who specializes in providing care for children with special needs. We work at a pace that is comfortable for your child and won't push beyond what they can tolerate. It may take a few appointments before your child allows us to fully examine and clean their teeth.

How can a pediatric dentist help my child?

Many dentists simply lack the knowledge and experience to provide quality dental care to children with special needs. Other dentists are unwilling to take on patients that require extra care. Our special needs dentist and his team provide dental care that's customized to your child's comfort and tolerance levels.

We recognize that patients may have certain conditions that prevent them from holding still or holding their mouth open for long periods of time, whether from anxiety or physical limitations. We are willing to work with you to make sure your child always feels safe in the dentist's chair. Whether this means singing to them during their appointment or working at a pace that feels comfortable to them, we recognize that each child requires a unique approach. Our staff is caring and understanding.

Do you offer sedation dentistry?

Most patients don't need sedation for dental exams and teeth cleanings. However, we do provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral conscious sedation, and general anesthesia depending on the needs of your child. If your child needs a long intensive procedure, our special needs dentist may determine that general anesthesia would be less traumatic.

Laughing gas, on the other hand, may be used to help your child relax during a routine teeth cleaning. We're more than happy to discuss what sedation dentistry options are most appropriate for your child's needs. It is always our goal to make sure patients receive dental care in a safe and relaxing environment.

To schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids special needs dentist, call Kingma Pediatric Dentistry at (616) 942-9840.