At Epic Dentistry for Kids in Aurora, we understand the importance of building a strong, honest relationship with our patients. Our pediatric dentist strives to instill trust in our patients early on, so they can trust their doctors to provide knowledgeable advice as they grow older. Creating this close bond with patients requires patience, compassion, and time. Every patient is unique and we are always ready and willing to cater to their needs.
Pediatric Dentist for Children with Special Needs
Dr. Patterson, our Aurora pediatric dentist, is trained to work with children who have disabilities. After his general practice residency, he was mentored by a well-respected pediatric dentist in New Mexico, then went on to complete a pediatric dentistry residency at NYU-Lutheran Medical Pediatric Dental Residency. During this experience, he spent two years dedicated to learning and using equipment and techniques designed for kids with disabilities. His specialty training also includes communication and behavior management with children. To this day, he continues to study and practice new ways to provide the best experience possible for his patients. As a father of two himself, Dr. Patterson is great with kids and love working with them!
Who We Treat
We make it a priority at Epic Dentistry for Kids to ensure that all our patients are comfortable and accommodated to at our office. Our talented team is specially trained and licensed to treat:
- Infants (younger than 1 yr)
- Toddlers (1 – 3 yrs old)
- Children (4 – 12 yrs old)
- Teenagers (13 – 18 yrs old)
- Kids with Special Healthcare Needs
- Kids with Behavioral Disorders
- Kids with Mental Disabilities
- Kids with Physical Disabilities
Dental Care for Autistic Children
Dental anxiety is a common problem for patients of all ages, even adults! If your child is afraid of the dentist, let us know beforehand. We will take extra precautions to ensure your child feels safe and comfortable at our office. Our friendly pediatric dentist will walk your child through every step of the appointment, so your child has nothing to fear.
If your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and struggles with dental anxiety, we understand they may have a different way of approaching things. As a pediatric dentist, Dr. Patterson knows how to work with autistic children and make sure they get the dental care they need.
If you are a parent who is delaying a visit to the dentist because your child is autistic, know that we are well equipped to accommodate them! Putting off visits to the pediatric dentist can lead to poor oral health, cavities, gum diseases, dental decay, or worse. It’s important to see a pediatric dentist for autistic children, so they can maintain strong and healthy teeth.
After the dentist’s appointment, it’s also important to implement strict rules about dental hygiene. As with all children, it can be difficult to get autistic kids to remember to brush and floss properly every day. Establish a dental hygiene routine for the family to make sure your child’s teeth are in tip top shape!
Sedation Dentistry for Dental Anxiety
Children are often afraid of the dentist because they either fear the unknown or they anticipate pain. By eliminating both, it may be possible to significantly reduce your child’s anxiety. If your child has had a bad experience with a dentist in the past, talk to them about it and let them know that it won’t happen again. We also encourage explaining the significance of dental exams and good oral hygiene to your child before going to the dentist.
For children whose phobias won’t be so easily appeased, our pediatric dentistry office also provides sedation dentistry. As children grow older and stronger, they can become difficult to work with in the dental chair. Sedation dentistry is a safe, efficient, and effective way to relax your child before an appointment, so they can get the dental care they need. Our office also uses anesthetics to make sure your child will not feel any pain during procedures like dental fillings or teeth extractions. Let your child know that as scary as the drills may look and sound, they won’t hurt at all.
Sedation dentistry is great for kids who suffer from dental anxiety, but it’s also completely optional. Consult with your pediatrician and pediatric dentist to see if it’s the right choice for your child. The benefits of receiving proper dental treatment usually far outweigh any of the minimal risks associated with sedation dentistry.
Preparing for the Pediatric Dentist
If your child has behavioral disorders, physical/mental disabilities, or other healthcare needs such as asthma or autism, it may be a good idea to take some time to prepare them for the dentist’s office. As with any new experience, going to the dentist can be a confusing, scary ordeal without adequate preparation. When your child know what to anticipate, they will probably a lot more cooperative.
For autistic children who may struggle in social situations, being in a new environment with strangers can be extremely unsettling. There are so many weird sounds, smells, and sights at the dentist’s office that can be distracting or disturbing. Being operated on at the dentist without forewarning can even be traumatic. Talk to your pediatric dentist to learn about how you can avoid a sensory overload and help make your child’s time with the dentist more pleasant.
Here are a few tips we have for your child’s first visit to the dentist:
- Talk your child through the experience before the appointment
- Explain the importance of healthy teeth
- Read books or watch movies that depict the dentist’s office positively with your child
- Tour the office before the day of the appointment with your child
- Take your child to one of your dentist’s appointments
- Be a role model by staying calm and collected
- Allow your child to bring a familiar comfort object
- Play games with them in the waiting room
- Ask the pediatric dentist to walk your child through the process beforehand
- Give your child headphones or earplugs, so they don’t hear the sounds of dental tools
- Let your child watch a show during the dental procedures
- Bring sunglasses if your child dislikes bright lights
- Ask the dentist to use your child’s favorite flavor of toothpaste
- Reward your child afterward with positive affirmations
- Avoid using scary technical words like novocain, drills, suction, extraction, etc.
- Play dentist with your child at home
- Ask questions and encourage your child to do the same
No matter what, our number one priority at Epic Dentistry for Kids is your child’s health and safety and that includes their mental wellbeing. To learn more about how to get ready for your child’s first visit at the dentist, check out these dental tips for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder from the American Speech Language Hearing Association and Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center.
Having a bad relationship with the dentist can be very detrimental to a person’s dental health. We like to emphasize the importance of establishing a dental home, especially for our autistic patients, because the pediatric dentist works with kids from infancy to young adulthood. Most patients stop seeing the pediatric dentist after they turn 18, but for some special needs cases, we continue to care for patients beyond then.
If you live in the Aurora area and your child has special needs, talk to our pediatric dentist to learn more about his approach to treating patients. Parents always want the best for their children and this philosophy is no different when it comes to the dentist. Stop by our office to see if we’re a good fit for your family. You’re always welcome at Epic Dentistry for Kids!