Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
dental issues

Pediatric Dental Issues with Special Needs Children

Children with special needs require extra attention and care when it comes to their dental health. Pediatric dental issues can be challenging, and parents of special needs children may find it difficult to navigate through the process of maintaining their child’s oral health. In this blog, we will discuss common dental issues in special needs children, preventative measures, and treatment options.

Dental Issues in Special Needs Children:

Children with special needs are more prone to dental issues due to various reasons such as medications, dietary restrictions, behavioral issues, and difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene. Some common dental issues in special needs children include:

  1. Tooth decay: Special needs children are at a higher risk of tooth decay due to their dietary restrictions, lack of proper oral hygiene, and medications that contain sugar. Tooth decay can lead to pain, infection, and other dental problems.
  2. Gum disease: Children with special needs may have difficulty cleaning their teeth and gums, which can lead to gum disease. Gum disease can cause inflammation, bleeding, and tooth loss if left untreated.
  3. Bruxism: Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common dental issue in special needs children. It can cause tooth wear, sensitivity, and jaw pain.
Source: TED-Ed

Preventative Measures:

Preventative measures can help minimize dental issues in special needs, children. Here are some tips for maintaining good oral hygiene:

  1. Brushing: Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and teach them proper brushing techniques.
  2. Flossing: Flossing is essential to remove food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Use floss picks or interdental brushes to make it easier for your child.
  3. Regular dental checkups: Schedule regular dental checkups for your child to monitor their oral health and detect any dental issues early.

Treatment Options:

Treatment options for dental issues in special needs children depend on the severity of the issue. Here are some standard treatment options:

  1. Dental fillings: Dental fillings can help treat tooth decay and prevent further damage to the tooth.
  2. Gum treatment: If your child has gum disease, they may require a deep cleaning or scaling and root planing to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
  3. Mouthguards: Mouthguards can help prevent tooth wear and damage from bruxism.


Dental issues in special needs children can be challenging, but preventative measures and early detection can help maintain good oral health. Regular dental checkups, proper oral hygiene, and treatment options can help prevent dental issues from becoming more severe.

How can I encourage my special needs child to brush their teeth?

Encourage your child by making it a fun and interactive activity. Use flavored toothpaste or let them choose their toothbrush. Reward them for brushing their teeth properly.

Is sedation dentistry safe for special needs children?

Sedation dentistry can be safe for special needs children if done by a qualified and experienced dental professional. Talk to your dentist about the risks and benefits before deciding on sedation dentistry.

What should I do if my child refuses to go to the dentist?

Talk to your child’s dentist and discuss their fears and concerns. Consider visiting a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating special needs, children. It also helps to prepare your child by explaining what to expect during the dental visit.