Preparing your child for a trip to the dentist is always a good idea, but if you have a child who is deaf or hearing impaired, you may want to take a few extra steps to ensure the visit goes smoothly. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for an upcoming visit.
Talk To Your Dentist About How Your Child Communicates
Whether your child reads lips or communicates exclusively in sign language, talking to the dentist about your child's communication style can help to create a better dentist-patient relationship with a doctor like Russell Pollina, DDS. If your child reads lips, the dentist can be sure to remove his or her mask when speaking. If your child signs, your dentist may be able to take breaks during any procedures so you or an interpreter can talk to your child about what is happening.
Go Over The Procedure With Your Child Ahead Of Time
Since it will be difficult for your child to communicate effectively during a dental procedure, it is a good idea to meet with the dentist ahead of time and discuss what will happen in detail. This gives your child a chance to express any questions or concerns in a comfortable setting before the dental work begins. You may also show the dentist a hand signal or sign that indicates pain or discomfort so the dentist can make adjustments during the procedure accordingly.
Take A Tour Of The Office
Let your child visit the dentist's office a few days before the appointment so he or she can see the different instruments that are used and become more comfortable sitting in the dental chair. This also gives your child a chance to learn the names of the hygienists and dentist so he or she can create a name sign for each of them, which can help your child feel more comfortable with the staff at the office. Your child can use this opportunity to role-play and gain a better understanding of what will happen during the next visit.
Plan To Be In The Room
Make sure that there is room for you in the examination area so you can be present throughout the appointment. Find a place in the room where you can sit and be visible to your child so you can speak or sign about what is happening during the appointment. Having you there will also be helpful in case your child experiences any distress or health symptoms that require medical attention during the visit.
Look for a dentist who specializes caring for children with special needs, and take the time to plan ahead so your child has the best possible experience during each dental appointment.