Dentists strive to improve dental care for children with autism

Pediatric Dental Practice– Dental care for children on the autism spectrum has always been a challenge for many parents. A number of dentists, however, are trying to eliminate that problem.

Nicole Brown of Katy, Texas had the same dilemma until she finally found Dr. Amy Luedemann-Lazar, a pediatric dentist in Houston. Unlike all other dentists that Brown had tried to reach out to in the past, Dr. Luedemann-Lazar used an entirely different approach in caring for Brown’s now 13-year-old daughter, Camryn Cunningham. Instead of using sedation, Dr. Luedemann-Lazar asked to see Camryn every week to establish rapport as well as to allow the child to be familiar with the dental office. Her approach was effective.

Dr. David Tesini of Sadbury, Mass. used a similar approach in his recently released DVD for his brainchild, the D-termined program. Tesini’s program aims to educate professionals about the strategies that could be used in treating uncooperative children, including those with autism.

Dr. Cavan Brunsden of New Jersey believes that dental care for children on the spectrum should start as early as their toddler stage. Brunsden believes that like all other interventions, dental care should be just as important for children with ASD as learning the skill of talking and walking. According to Brunsden:

“It allows us to train a child to their highest potential.”

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Chief Executive Dr. John Rutkauskas said that an increasing number of their members have grown more interested in learning the skills needed to treat patients with autism.

The original article by Catherine Saint Louis can be found on the Well Blogs New York Times website here