The New York Times recently featured the story of Nicole Brown of Katy, Texas and her 13-year-old daughter Camryn, who is on the autism spectrum. Taking Camryn to the dentist was never easy due of her sensory sensitivities. Most dentisted suggested to Nicole that her daughter be sedated so that they could work on her teeth without interruption. That is, until she walked into the office of Houston-area dentist Dr. Luedemann-Lazar.
Dr. Luedemann-Lazar suggested that Camryn visit the office on a weekly basis to get a routine going that would help her feel calm. It worked. After weeks of effort, Camryn was able to sit calmly in the dentist chair for 25 minutes during her routine cleaning.
“It was like a breakthrough,” Nicole told the New York Times. “Dr. Amy didn’t just turn her away.”
Read the full New York Times article here. The New York Times article's author, Catherine Saint Louis also wrote about what inspired her to look into the need for dentists willing to work closely with individuals with autism without the use of anesthesa.
Pediatric dentist Dr. Elizabeth Shick told the New York Times, “With the increase of autism spectrum disorder patients out there, there are not enough pediatric dentists to see everyone.”
Dr. Schick helped write the Autism Speaks Dental Professional tool kit. The resource packet is designed to equip dentists with the tools necessary to best serve patients with autism.
Autism Speaks also has a tool kit for parents with a dental guide and video with tips for improving oral hygiene at home, as well as information about how parents and dental professionals can make a visit to the dentist's office less stressful and more productive.
Also see Dr. Shick’s Autism Speaks “Got Questions?” blog post – “Is It Safe to Sedate our Son during his Dental Appointment?” – and "Your ATN@Work: A Trip to the Dentist Can Be a Positive Experience."