Tourette syndrome is typically diagnosed before puberty, with most cases identified when a child is five to seven years old. A conclusive diagnosis is not immediately given, with physicians generally needing to note at least two recurring motor (physical) tics, along with a recurring vocal tic before determining that your child is in fact experiencing Tourette syndrome. These symptoms must be present (recurring) for at least a year, which accounts for the variance in the average age of diagnosis. But does being diagnosed with Tourette syndrome affect the way in which your child can access dental care?
Your Local Pediatric Dentistry Clinic
It's not as though your child now needs to see a special needs dentist. Your local pediatric dentistry provider is well-equipped to handle your child's dental needs, as few specialist provisions are necessary to offer treatment to a child with Tourette syndrome. One of the most important things is that the clinic and its staff can provide is a calm atmosphere, as some children with Tourette syndrome may have their symptoms (tics) triggered by anxiety.
A Specific Precautionary Measure
The utmost care will be taken when treating your child, and this can require a certain approach. Although it might feel excessive to sedate your child prior to dental treatment, this can often be a precautionary measure. Many dental implements are necessarily sharp, and if they're in use when your child experiences a physical tic, injuries become possible. Your child's dentist may suggest partial sedation (where your child is conscious but relaxed) before performing certain dental procedures. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is likely to be the preferred method of partial sedation. Remember, it's about relaxing your child (thus managing their tics) instead of rendering them unconscious.
Involuntary Teeth Grinding
Tourette syndrome can have a direct effect on a person's dental health. When tics result in involuntary teeth grinding, accelerated deterioration can be possible. Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) puts significant stress on teeth. Your child's dentist might recommend a night guard, which is a lightweight retainer to be worn during sleep, and prevents the upper and lower teeth from making direct contact with each other. Involuntary daytime teeth grinding may need to be addressed too. In extreme cases, a muscle relaxant can be required.
Although it can be distressing when your child has been conclusively diagnosed with Tourette syndrome, please remember that the condition is manageable, and won't create any obstacle for receiving proper dental care. For more information, contact a dentistry like New England Dental Specialists of Norwood.