mother kisses daughter at Special needs dentistry

Special needs dentistry: We cater to children with exceptionalities!

As a parent, finding the right dentist for your child can be challenging, especially when your child has special needs!

At Kids Smiles, we understand that children with exceptionalities require a unique and gentle approach to the world of dentistry.

Here’s how we make this transition and journey simple for kids with special needs.

What exactly is special needs dentistry?

Special needs dentistry is just a fancy way of saying that a dental office is dedicated to accommodating and treating patients with physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional needs.

Kids with conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or other developmental delays often face unique challenges when visiting the dentist. But our Kids Smiles team is specially trained to handle these challenges with patience, skill, and compassion.

How to find a dentist for special needs child near you

Searching for a “dentist for special needs child near me” or a “pediatric dentist for special needs child near me” can give you a good starting point. We suggest you call each office to ask if they see special needs patients and have any experience in caring for them.

If you live in or near Town ‘n’ Country, South Tampa, North Tampa or East Bradenton, we recommend Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, of course!

Finding a pediatric dentist for autism

Going to the dentist can be nerve-wracking for autistic children. A new place, new faces, and lots of opportunity for sensory stimuli is enough to put them in sensory-overload. Our entire office is trained and familiar with caring for children on the spectrum.

Here’s how we help make dental visits for autistic children more manageable:

  • We offer free desensitization visits. These are scheduled “appointments” during our down-time where you and your child can explore and familiarize yourself with our offices and staff. During these visits, they’ll learn that a dental office can be a fun place to be! You can make as many of these appointments as you’d like until you feel your child is ready for their regular check up. (We usually recommend at least 2 before the first visit, but every child is unique and may need more or less!)
  • We have books on visiting the dentist in the office. We use books to help communicate with autistic children as they can be non-verbal or limited-verbal and many engage with visuals and verbal cues together.
  • We use visuals. Our team also uses step-by-step visual “schedules” that outline a dental appointment, helping children know what will happen next.

Why choose Kids Smiles?

As special needs parents know there is a world of difference between a dentist who can accommodate children with special needs and one who is experienced in caring for kiddos with exceptionalities.

Here’s a few of the ways we cater to children with exceptionalities:

Our team has hands-on training
Our team is led by renowned pediatric dentist, Dr. Frank Sierra, who has more than 25 years of experience providing compassionate, expert care for children and teens, including those with exceptionalities. Every time a new Kids Smiles team member joins our practice, they receive training on our “tell, show, do” philosophy. This care approach helps create a calm and engaging environment for children with special needs.

We provide personalized treatment
While children with special needs may have the same medical diagnosis, we understand that their specific needs are unique to them. Which is why we work closely with parents to understand their preferences and how we can best support them during their regular appointments with us. This helps our team ensure your child’s appointment is as comfortable and stress-free as possible for them.

Our offices are a sensory-friendly environment
At Kids Smiles, we’re familiar with the sensory sensitivities of autistic children too. All 4 locations of our practice were designed to be kid and sensory-friendly.

  • In our North Tampa pediatric dentist office, we have cool, calming colors like blue, white, and green throughout the office. We also have a “under-the-sea” mural in our waiting room!
  • In the Town ‘n Country office, we have a waiting room with a kids corner that has lots of fun toys for all ages.
  • In South Tampa, we have cozy blue chairs for our little patients and feature cool wave textures throughout our offices for a calming environment.
  • In East Bradenton, we have deep soothing office colors like brown, gray, and navy and an open space for kids to observe and interact with our doctors and staff.

Our Kids Smiles Team practices special needs dentistry!

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions about our offices or experience in caring for children with exceptionalities. Our goal is to foster beautiful, healthy smiles for all our Tampa Bay children.

Give us a call today to see how we go above-and-beyond to make your child comfortable, or schedule your appointment today!