Enhanced Verifiable CPD from the
University of Birmingham

Autism and dentistry.
List of tools and techniques

Dental practices can employ a range of specialised tools and techniques to manage autistic patients more effectively and make the experience as comfortable as possible. Here's a list of such tools and approaches:

Sensory Tools

  1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones: To block out the noise of dental equipment.
  2. Weighted Blankets: To provide a calming, "grounding" effect.
  3. Visual Timers: To help the patient understand how long a procedure will last.
  4. Fidget Toys: To keep hands busy and minds focused.
  5. Vibrating Pillows: Provide sensory input to distract from dental procedures.

Communication Tools

  1. Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS): For non-verbal patients.
  2. Visual Schedules: To outline each step of the dental procedure.
  3. iPad or Tablet: With specialised apps for communication or distraction.
  4. Sign Language Charts: For those more comfortable with sign language.
  5. Social Stories: Personalised stories detailing what will happen during the visit.

Dental Tools

  1. Mouth Props: To help keep the mouth open comfortably.
  2. Paediatric-sized instruments / handpieces: Less intimidating and more comfortable.
  3. Disposable Mirrors: Less frightening than metal ones.
  4. Conscious Sedation: For patients who need help relaxing.
  5. Water Flossers: A gentler introduction to dental hygiene.

Comfort Tools

  1. Scented Masks: For a less clinical experience.
  2. Tinted Goggles or Glasses: To protect eyes and provide comfort.
  3. Heated Blankets: For additional comfort.
  4. Soft Headrests: To make the dental chair more comfortable.

Behavioural Techniques

  1. Positive Reinforcement Cards: Reward systems for each completed step.
  2. Break Cards: To signal when a break is needed.
  3. Token System: Tokens for each completed step for rewards.
  4. Hand Signals: Simple signals to communicate needs.

Environmental Tools

  1. Adjustable Lighting: To create a less intimidating atmosphere.
  2. Music Player: To play calming music.
  3. Themed Rooms: To make the experience more enjoyable for children.
  4. Calming Wall Art: For both distraction and calming effects.

Specific Actions

  1. Practice Visits: To familiarise the patient with the environment.
  2. Show and Tell: To introduce each tool before use.
  3. Role Playing: To demonstrate what will happen during the visit.
  4. Stress Balls: To squeeze during the procedure.
  5. Breathing Exercises: To help with anxiety and stress.

Technological Tools

  1. Real-Time Monitoring Screen: To relieve some patients' anxiety.
  2. Laser Dentistry Tools: Quieter and less invasive.

For more info on any of these, ask Dr Aiden.

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Very good material. Brilliant for CPD.

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