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Children With Special Needs Specialist

RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry located in Rye, NY

Children with special needs face unique challenges that require care from an experienced dentist. At RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry in Downtown Rye, New York, pediatric dentists Deborah Troy, DDS, and Charles Yau, DDS, have specialized training to care for patients with special needs and medically complex disabilities. The team also collaborates with local pediatricians to provide the best care possible. To learn more, call RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry, or schedule an appointment online today.

Children with Special Needs Q & A

What dental challenges do children with special needs face?

Many children with special needs face physical, emotional, and mental challenges that can interfere with maintaining good oral health. Some of these oral health challenges include:

Tooth decay and gum disease

Children with special needs are at an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Many have sensory issues, (such as children with ASD), physical impairments, or mental health difficulties that can make proper brushing and flossing a challenge. In addition, certain sensory problems can make it difficult for children with special needs to undergo teeth cleanings and other dental work.

Crowded teeth

Some children with craniofacial disabilities, such as Down syndrome, have crowded teeth. That means their mouths don’t have enough room to support all the teeth they have, causing crowding and misalignments.

Missing teeth

Congenital missing teeth is another common concern among children with craniofacial disabilities.

Delayed tooth eruption

Delayed tooth eruption, in which a permanent tooth fails to emerge, is common in children with Down syndrome. Children with seizure disorders and cerebral palsy can also experience trauma to the mouth that impacts tooth eruption.

How do dentists care for children with special needs?

The team at RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry provides friendly, caring, and compassionate care for children with special needs. Some of the specialized services the team offers for special needs patients include:

  • Coordination with local pediatricians and craniofacial teams
  • BPA-free dental sealants
  • Oraverse® to reduce post-treatment numbness 24-hour trauma management
  • Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”
  • IV sedation

IV sedation, or general anesthesia, is a useful tool for children with sensory issues, anxiety disorders, difficulty sitting still, and other challenges that special needs patients have. It involves injecting medication through an IV to keep your child relaxed during their visit. This type of anesthesia is done in-office with our board-certified dental anesthesiologist.

How can parents encourage good oral hygiene for children with special needs?

Good oral hygiene is crucial for healthy tooth development and cavity prevention. If your child with special needs is struggling to maintain healthy habits, try the following tips at home:

Set a routine

Setting a morning and evening routine for brushing and flossing helps children with special needs get into the habit of brushing and flossing regularly. Serve nutritious meals

While sugar and starches can eat away at protective tooth enamel, fruits, vegetables, and protein can help strengthen your child’s teeth. Following a nutritious diet helps protect against tooth decay, gum disease, and other common dental concerns.


Always make sure your child has water to prevent dry mouth, which increases the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking water also helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria and food debris.

To learn more about dental care for children with special needs, call RyeSmiles Pediatric Dentistry, or schedule an appointment online today.