No Fuss Dental Appointments: 3 Tips For Keeping Sensory Sensitive Children Calm And Comfortable
Dental appointments for sensory sensitive children can be very overwhelming. The unfamiliar sounds, the discomfort of certain procedures, the treatments, and the blinding lights in the dental clinic can cause these children to feel anxious and uncomfortable. If this applies to your children, here are 3 things you can do to ease their fears, keep them calm, and help them feel comfortable.
Perform Heavy Work Actions Before the Appointment
It's easy for sensory sensitive children to feel overwhelmed when in the dental clinic due to the vast amount of unfamiliar sensations that bombard their system. One of the easiest ways to make the dental appointment feel much less intense is to dull their sensory system by having them perform heavy work actions. By tiring out their senses, they will feel less sensitive to different stimuli later on. Simple heavy work actions include bringing in the groceries or going for a run or lifting. You can even tailor some of these actions to the oral region. For example, oral-motor brushing can decrease sensitivity in that area.
Calm Their Nerves with a Heavy Blanket or Weighted Vest During the Appointment
Sitting in a dental chair with a dentist peering into your mouth with various dental tools can overwhelm the senses. Another common tip used to help children feel more relaxed is to bring along a heavy blanket or weighted vest along to the appointment. The pressure of the heavy blanket or weighted vest can help keep your children calm, as they focus on the added pressure placed on their body.
Provide Stress Ball or Fidget Toy to Distract the Wind
Instead of tiring the sensory system, another tactic commonly implemented is to distract the children instead so that they don't focus on the numerous different types of stimuli bombarding their body. You can try to distract your children by providing them with a stress ball or a fidget toy to play with while they're at the dental office. Have them continue to play with the toy whenever they feel anxious or overwhelmed. Diverting their focus elsewhere might help them enjoy the appointment a lot more.
When dealing with sensory sensitive children, it's important that you are much more sensitive to their needs and understand how the vast amount of stimuli that they've been exposed to can overwhelm their body. Find a kid's dentist in your area, such as those at Neu Family Dental Center, who has experience dealing with sensory sensitive children, as they'll likely have designed their clinic and trained their staff to cater to the additional needs of these children.