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Creating Beautiful Smiles For All Ages

Sep 9 • 7 minute read

Greetings! Summer at last! We are looking forward to catching up with everyone and hearing all about their summer adventures. If you haven't been in to see us this year, now is the time to schedule. See you soon.
~ Dr. Anna Lee & her amazing team
 
What is Autism?

In 2018 theCenter for Disease Control (CDC)determined that approximately 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with anautismspectrum disorder (ASD). It is a development disorder. People with autism have difficulties with communication, social interaction and sensory processing. These characteristics of people with autism pose challenges in a dental setting.
Medical History
Patients with autism have dental problems similar to those without the diagnosis of autism. What would be different is the use of dental management techniques to help people with autism, so that they would have a successful dental visit.

Dental Management Techniques
Entire dental staff are trained and are educated on how to properly manage patients with autism and welcome them into the dental practice.
·Quiet room for examination (no loud noises)
·Allow the caregiver to be in the treatment room with the patient
·Limited language, use pictures or objects to explain what will occur
·Be patient
·A gradual approach helps the patient to get used to the new surroundings and the office
A thorough medical history review is essential to fully understand patients with autism. These patients may have some of these health problems:
·Cognitive impairment
·Depression/anxiety
·Epilepsy
·Sleep difficulties

Some common Dental Issues/Oral health problems:
·Bruxism
·Tongue thrusting
·Erosion
·Poor oral hygiene
·Tooth decay
·Dry mouth
·Hypergag reflex

Patients’ behavior at the dental office
·Experience anxiety
·Fear of the unknown
·Difficulties communicating his/her feelings
·Sensory sensitivities
·Become noncompliant or uncooperative

First Dental Visit: the roles of the dental staff and the dentist
Dental Staff’s role
·Entire office staff should be aware of how to work with patients with autism
·Special accommodations that need to be considered:
-patients may be very sensitive to loud noises and bright lights. Patients are brought to a quiet exam room.
-care takers and/or siblings are allowed to stay with the patient in the treatment room
-care takers share information of the patient’s likes and dislikes
-siblings can be role models and help to encourage patient’s cooperation
·Consistency is very important. Maintaining consistency with dental assistant and dental hygienist would increase the patient’s comfort level.

Dentist’s role
·Tell-Show-Do technique helps the patient to know what to expect during a dental visit.
§You tell what you would do
§You show them how you would do it
§You perform/do the procedure
·Limited language: use pictures or objects to explain what would happen
·Desensitization technique and a gradual approach help patients to tolerate the dental procedure
·Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) technique: teach the patient how to brush their teeth. Each skill would be broken down into specific steps and taught separately. See the following steps:
§get toothbrush
§get toothpaste
§squeeze toothpaste onto toothbrush
§wet toothbrush and toothpaste with water
§brush front teeth
§brush upper right teeth
§brush upper left teeth
§brush lower right teeth
§brush lower left teeth
§spit out toothpaste
§rinse off toothbrush
§put toothbrush away
§put toothpaste away
·Make sure to praise and reward the patient when the steps are well done. Patients with autism might look forward to the praises.
 
It is such a fulfilling feeling when the dental staff and the dentists are able to manage the patients well and be able to provide a successful dental experience for them. Parents and patients are usually very appreciative and loyal as a result and they may refer other families to the practice as well. Children with autism can be a lot of fun to work with and they are likely to develop a special friendship with the dental team.
Dr. Anna Lee is a general & cosmetic dentist in Glendora, CA. She treats patients of all ages. She has the experience of treating patients with autism. She is kind, gentle and patient.Call our office for a dental check up at626-335-5114 or visit us atwww.annaleedds.com


 
The demographic of older adults, 65 years of age and older is growing and likely will be an increasingly large part of many dental practices in the coming years. People are living longer; the average life expectancy for Americans is 78.7 years. Many older patients take prescription medications for their medical conditions. People want to save their teeth as long as they can to improve and sustain the quality of their life.
Oral health impacts the health of the rest of the body and it is true that the condition of the health also impacts your oral health.
Here are some reasons that older patients’ dental care is so important:
Heart Disease
·Studies have shown that maintaining good oral hygiene is a powerful weapon against heart attacks, strokes, other heart disease conditions
·According to theAmerican Academy of Periodontology (AAP),patients with periodontal disease are twice (2x) more likely to have heart disease
Diabetes
·According to theAmerican Diabetes Association, diabetes occurs when the body’s blood glucose exceeds normal level
·Type 2 Diabetes is more common in older adults
·Type 2 diabetics are at greater risk for periodontal disease. High blood sugar can lead to gum infection and tooth loss
 
Dry Mouth-lack of production of saliva in the mouth
·Dry mouth can be a side effect of taking prescription and over the counter medications
·Dry mouth can be a side effect of cancer treatment that use radiation to the head and neck area
·Tooth and root decay are common with dry mouth condition
·Gum infection and periodontal disease
Gum Disease
·Gum tissues surrounding teeth become infected due to build up of plaque
·Gum disease is one of the reasons people have tooth loss
·Studies show that 68% of those 65 years or older Americans have periodontal disease. It can destroy gums, bone, and ligaments that support teeth
·Gum disease may be related to the cause of some health problems; heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and other health issues
 
 
Denture-Induced Stomatitis
·Inflammation of the gum tissues under an ill-fitting denture
·Inflammation of the gum tissues due to poor oral hygiene
Some Dental Health Risks in Older Patients
·Tooth Decay-according to theCenter for Disease Control (CDC), about 96% of the adults aged 65 and older have had at least one cavity previously. About 20% currently have untreated tooth decay.
·Root decay- gum tissues recede and root surfaces become exposed and susceptible to root decay and may lead to tooth loss
·Dry Mouth-reduced saliva production in the mouth may be caused by medications as well as cancer treatment that use radiation to the heads and neck areas. Dry mouth increases tooth and root decay
·Gum Disease-Untreated gum disease (inflammation of gum tissue and bone loss) would lead to tooth loss
Here are some expert tips from theAmerican Dental Associationthat are good guideline to follow:
·Brush 2x per day with a toothbrush, use fluoride-containing toothpaste and floss daily
·Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice per day
·If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them daily
·Take the dentures out of the mouth for at least 4 hours every day, and it is best to remove them at night
·Drink water-it helps to prevent tooth decay
·Quit smoking-increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay and tooth loss
·Visit the dentist on a regular schedule, every 6 months, for a complete dental check-up, cleaning and oral exam
·Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
Dr. Anna Lee is a general & cosmetic dentist in Glendora, CA. She is experienced in all phases of dentistry. She treats patients of all ages. If you have not had a dental check up for a while, it is time to call for a dental examination now.Call our office at 626-335-5114 for a dental appointment or visit us atwww.annaleedds.com


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