April is National Autism Awareness Month. Autism prevalence is now one in every 68 children in America. It is more common than pediatric AIDS, diabetes, and cancer combined. Individuals with autism have difficulties with communication, social interaction and sensory processing. They may have strong positive or negative reactions to sounds, smells, sights, taste, texture or human touch. These characteristics pose very unique challenges in a dental setting.
Patients with autism do not differ from other patients as far as their dental presentations and problems. What will be different is the flow of these patients through your office and management techniques that can be employed to have a successful visit. It is crucial for the dental office staff to understand how to accommodate and work with patients with autism both in the office and at home, and recommendations for their home care will make it possible to achieve the best oral health outcomes possible.