Paediatric dentistry for autistic patients in Murcia

More and more families in the Region of Murcia with members affected by Pervasive Developmental Disorders who seek specialised dental care to improve the oral and general health of their children.

In the case of the Autistic Disorderthe American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psichiatry classifies it within the Pervasive Developmental Disorders in its 'Diagnostic and Characteristic Manual of Mental Disorders' (DSM IV).

However, given the growth in the number of diagnosed cases in recent years, the DSM V, the latest version of this Manual published in 2013, now refers to a single category: the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a condition of neurological origin. People with autism have difficulties in social relationships, language and communication, as well as repetitive and routine patterns of behaviour.

Symptoms are present from childhood onwards, although they may not become evident until social demands expose the individual's ability to relate.

Oral repercussions in children with ASD

The autistic child, per se, does not present a specific oral pathology due to his conditionHowever, due to communication problems, dental treatment and patient cooperation can be very complex and may require the light sedation in a specialised dental clinicand, in some cases, general anaesthesia, to address their treatment.

The preventive measures are the most important with these patients. Your paediatric dentist should take into account a number of specific considerations:

- Parents/guardians/caregivers should be instructed on proper toothbrushing and hygiene measures so that they can be included in the children's daily routine.

- In the paediatric dentistry clinicThese patients should be seen as soon as they arrive and in a quiet environment, avoiding waiting room time.

- It is useful to use images (pictograms) to indicate the procedures to be carried out.

–        El Treatment should be as routine and repetitive as possible.The Commission shall ensure that no changes are made.

- The presence of parents in this case can be helpful, as they help the child to feel more relaxed in the dental environment.

- They will be displayed in pictures of the activities to be carried out in the clinic. It is important for the child to explore the consultation and the clinic by him/herself, as the anxiety about the new situation will decrease.

Dental pictograms for autistic patients
Dental pictograms for autistic patients

Image extracted from (

Preventive measures should continue at home and in schools. The use of pictograms to indicate daily brushing times is effective in establishing routines. For example, the picture of the toothbrush should be placed after the three main meals to remind them when to brush during the day.

In addition to hygiene measures, the specialised dentist will inform you about changes in the diet which are beneficial in the prevention of oral pathologies, discouraging the use of refined sugars as positive reinforcement for actions achieved by these patients.

General recommendations:

- The parent-educator-dentist interrelationship is fundamental to the success of treatment in these patients.

- The use of pictograms is very effective in ensuring that the visit runs smoothly.

- Several appointments are necessary to desensitise the patient and gain acceptance of dental treatment.

- Dental treatment needs are the same as for other children, with regular check-ups every three months to reinforce hygiene techniques to children and parents/educators.