When I had a badly decayed tooth extracted, I got a partial denture to fill in the gap. I didn't mind it at first, because I was just so happy to have my painful tooth out of my mouth. Over time, I began to get tired of taking it out at night. I asked my dentist if I was could get a dental implant, and he said that my gum disease did not make me a good candidate, but a fixed bridge may be a good option for me. I went with his suggestion, and I have no regrets. I love feeling like I have a real tooth again that I don't have to remove at night. I created this blog to remind other people with a missing tooth that they have many replacement options, and if one is not for you, then try another that may be right.
If your child has Down syndrome, a visit to the dentist may be cause for worry and stress, but it doesn't have to be. Read on to learn how you can make your child's dental appointments comfortable for them and productive for their dental health, as well as informative for you about the child's overall health.
Behavior at the Dentist
It's always best for any child to start seeing the dentist as early as possible to make visits routine and non-stressful. Consult with your pediatrician to determine the ideal age for your child to begin receiving professional dental care.
Allow extra time for appointments, as your child may need convincing during parts of the exam or may need procedures explained several times before becoming comfortable with them. Try to find a dentist who has experience dealing with Down syndrome, if possible, and notify the office staff about your child's condition.
Scheduling appointments earlier in the day may allow for better focus and fewer distractions (after-school hours can be notoriously busy). Start by asking for just a finger exam from the dentist in the setting of a "meet and greet," before progressing to a full exam with dental tools.
Dental and Oral Care Issues
You may be pleasantly surprised to find your child rarely has any cavities. Sometimes delayed eruption of teeth and wider spacing between them in individuals with Down syndrome mean less risk of sugar sitting on the teeth and causing decay.
Many Down syndrome kids have some amount of hypotonia, or muscle slackness, in the mouth and jaw area. This can affect your child's bite and the development of the jaw, and it can even cause neck pain. If your child has difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking, hypotonia could be partly to blame.
If you know your child suffers from hypotonia, be sure to inform the dentist of this. If you're not sure, you can ask the dentist if they see signs of this, so you can address it as early as possible. Also, consider alternatives to bite wing x-rays in your child, such as a panoramic radiograph, especially if they have hypotonia.
Periodontal disease can be common in Down syndrome children, due to poor oral hygiene when they brush on their own, tooth grinding (bruxism), and abnormal root shape to the teeth. Ask the dentist to go over brushing lessons with your child, and inquire about the possibility of adding a chlorhexidine rinse to the dental care routine at home to reduce bacteria in the mouth.
Other Health Concerns
Two general health concerns for your Down syndrome child may surface at the dentist's office. If your child has seizures, chipped teeth or signs of mouth biting may be present during the exam. Ask the dentist to check for this and alert you to any possible seizure evidence.
Many people with Down syndrome suffer from cardiac conditions. Sometimes this can put your child at risk for bacterial endocarditis (BE), an infection of the heart lining. Ask your pediatrician if your child needs antibiotics, or BE prophylaxis, before undergoing any dental exams or procedures.
Going to the dentist doesn't have to be fraught with worry for you or your child. Work with your kids dentist to introduce your child to routine dental care early and slowly, and you will be taking a big step towards helping your child's oral and overall health.Share
17 September 2015