How to Choose a Dentist for a Child with Down Syndrome
Anyone that has taken a small child to the dentist can attest that it can be a challenge. A child with Down syndrome is no different. Down syndrome can present a set of challenges that will require adaptation by the parent/caregiver and the treatment team.
Establishing a Dental Home
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages all parents and other caregivers to help every child establish a dental home by age 12 months. A dental home is the central place where all of a child’s oral healthcare needs are going to be comprehensively met. Establishing a dental home early enables the dentist and parents to discuss ways to nurture excellent oral health before any serious problems have had an opportunity to develop.
While children with Down syndrome can be treated in a typical office setting, your child may require the expertise of a pediatric dentist.
How Pediatric Specialists are Different
While children with Down syndrome can be treated in a typical office setting and some general dentists are capable of treating children with special healthcare needs, your child may require the expertise of a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist is a “specialist” who has trained for 24 months beyond dental school. During this training, they learn exclusively how to manage and treat the dental needs of children including children with Special Health Care Needs (SHCN). As a result, their training exposes them to experiences in which they deal with various health concerns of children with SHCNs as they relate to their dental treatment needs.
Whether you take your child to a general dentist or a pediatric dentist, the most important thing is to choose someone that can adequately provide the services your child requires.
*Inclusion on this list should NOT be considered an endorsement of any kind by the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, either expressed or implied. CMDSS families have recommended these resources, which are provided for informational purposes.