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Autism & Dental Care
Posted on 9/2/2015 by Fariba Mutschler
A recent national Pediatric Dentistry meeting had an excellent speaker, Dr. Cavan Brunsden, DMD, on Autism. Here is some of the material he covered:
•  Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain that has no known cure and usually appears before age 3.
•  Poor social interactions and communication with repetitive behaviors are indicators of Autism.
•  Autistic people have a genetic tendency to be more sensitive to toxins than other people because they cannot easily remove environmental toxins from their bodies.

Diagnosing Autism in dental offices:

•  Poor social interaction by minimal sharing, showing, or pointing?
•  Non-verbal actions like poor eye-to-eye, expressions, and gestures?
•  Poor verbal communication at age-appropriate levels?
•  No make-believe play?
•  Preoccupation with routine, ritual, or repetitive motions such as finger twiddling?

Treating Autistic dental patients:

•  Lots of preparation by showing pictures in the sequence of a typical dental appointment.
•  Be very directive.
•  Be extremely consistent with provider, assistant, chair, flavors, sequence, etc. Follow a routine!
•  Briefly introduce very small changes with frequent steps back to remind them of the routine.
•  They appear to respond well to therapeutic wrapping such as heavy blankets.

Resources for parents:

Autism Speaks
Autism Tools
My daughter was a little nervous to have her dental work done but everyone in the office was super friendly and very reassuring and that helped her nervousness go away. Thanks for the excellent dental experience. ~ Lilyana G.

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