Going to the dentist as a kid is an anxiety-inducing experience, and many find it hard to feel comfortable. 

For those with autism, it can be a much more challenging time. Children with autism often find it harder to stay still and feel relaxed, allowing the dentist to do their job. 

Dental Problems in Children with Autism

People with autism have a higher chance of developing dental and oral health problems due to sensory sensitivities that make it challenging to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

In today’s post, we review a few of the most common dental problems in children with autism and what can be done to prevent these problems. 

Dental Injury

The risk of dental injury is higher in autistic children than in kids without autism, and the most common type of injury is the fracturing or cracking of teeth.  

Autistic kids are prone to agitation and suffer from high anxiety. In various studies, patients with autism had a higher chance of accidental teeth injury. 

Parents often learn to create a safer space for kids with autism and how to help them cope with anxiety or stress. 

When dealing with autistic patients and kids, dentists and parents must remember to take extra care and create a calm environment. 

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can happen to anyone at any age and is one of the leading causes of toothache and pain. Kids with autism might find it challenging to communicate this pain to their parents. 

Because of this, it can be difficult for parents of kids with autism to know when problems may arise. 

Studies have shown kids with autism have a higher chance of suffering from severe tooth decay, mainly due to not getting early enough treatment. 

For problems with tooth decay, there are many solutions, and finding a special needs dentist can be one of the best things for parents of children with autism to do. 

One effective solution to this issue can be cosmetic dentistry. This broad branch of dentistry focuses on improving teeth’ appearance after damage or decay. 

This trustworthy dentist in Pasadena also recommends preventive care. Ensure your child brushes their teeth twice daily, and you should also help them floss every night.

Gingival Overgrowth

Many studies have shown that kids with autism have a higher chance of suffering from a condition known as Gingival Overgrowth (Gingival hyperplasia). 

This condition is an abnormal overgrowth of gum (gingiva) tissue, which causes the gums of the person affected to be overgrown and soft. 

Because they are soft and tender, they tend to bleed and get damaged much more frequently due to the condition. 

Basic oral hygiene practices and teaching kids daily routines can be very effective in helping this problem. Regularly flossing and brushing with soft-bristled brushes are the best at-home solutions. 

Higher Chance of Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding or “bruxism” can be a severe problem when it goes on for a long time. Teeth grinding can often be linked to patient anxiety and develops as a coping mechanism in kids. 

Patients who have autism are at higher risk of high anxiety, which could lead to severe teeth grinding.

Parents of autistic children often need to learn ways of calming their children and helping them deal with stresses due to their high anxiety and sensory sensitivities.

Bruxism can lead to many other dental issues, which get more severe over time. Jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, and worn down teeth are all caused by teeth grinding. 

Parents may find it beneficial to get their child a fidget or sensory toy to help combat the teeth-grinding habits.

Teeth Anomalies

Tooth anomalies are more frequent in kids with autism but can develop in any person. These anomalies may develop at birth or later in life.

Abnormalities can appear in many ways, such as changes in the form, function, or position of teeth and tissues in the mouth or jaw. 

Anomalies can range from severe to not severe, depending on how it affects the person. Discolored teeth are also a form of tooth anomaly. 

Depending on the problem, there are multiple forms of treatment, most of which focus on lessening the pain or at least being able to manage it better. Surgery is also an option for severe conditions of anomalies. 

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1 Comment

  1. It is true that dental injuries are very common in children with autism. It’s really important to have an emergency dentist ready whenever it happens! Much care is needed for them and it should include dental care especially because they love to share their smiles to the people around them 🙂

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