Preparing for the Dental Visit

Dental Guide

It is important to find a dentist that works successfully with individuals with autism. You may find a dentist in your local area in the Autism Speaks Resource Guide. 

You may want to find out if the dentist has a questionnaire that you can fill out before your appointment. If not, you can use the one provided in the Dental Guide.

Speak with the dentist before the appointment.

  • Let the dentist know what time of day works best for your child.
  • Describe any concerns or challenges that may present themselves during the visit.
  • See if they have pictures of the office so you can review them with your child before the appointment.

Preparing for the Dental Visit

You may want to prepare your child before going to the dentist. For some children, a visual schedule can be helpful to let them know what will happen throughout the visit. You can find information about visual schedules on page 6, and you can find an actual visual schedule in the Dental Guide. You can also practice having your child sit in a reclining chair. You may have to teach each of the following steps so that they understand the directions from the dental professional.

  • Putting their hands on their stomach
  • Putting their feet out straight
  • Opening wide
  • Holding their mouth open
  • Counting their teeth
  • Cleaning with a power brush
  • Taking X-Rays
  • Spitting into the sink

Each step may need to be mastered individually. Many of the instruments used at a dental visit can be bought at a drugstore. These would include:

  • Small flashlight
  • Dental mirror
  • Rubber-tipped gum massager
  • You may also be able to get some dental bite wings from their dentist in advance of the visit, so that your child may practice biting down on the dental bite wings when they need to have X-Rays taken.

Learn more about preparing for a dental visit in the Autism Speaks Dental Guide.