Educational and therapeutic behavioral approaches to providing dental care for patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Purpose:Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition which most dentists will encounter in their practices. Contemporary educational and behavioral approaches may facilitate successful dental care.Methods:A literature review was conducted for relevant information on dental care for children with ASD.Results:Educational principles used for children with ASD can be applied in the dental setting. Examples include: parent involvement in identifying strengths, sensitivities, and goal setting; using stories or video modeling in advance of the appointment; dividing dental treatment into sequential components; and modification of the environment to minimize sensory triggers. Patients with ASD are more capable of tolerating procedures that they are familiar with, and therefore should be exposed to new environments and stimuli in small incremental steps.Conclusions:By taking time to understand children with ASD as individuals and employing principles of learning, clinicians can provide high quality dental care for the majority of patients with ASD.

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