As a caregiver for someone with special needs, you know that oral hygiene is an important part of your loved one's care plan. However, health conditions such as autism or Alzheimer's disease can sometimes make it hard to get to those critical dental exams. Fortunately, you can help your loved one maintain their teeth by using these tips to make dental appointments easier for them.

Schedule Appointments Wisely

You know your loved one's best time of day, and you can use this knowledge to schedule their appointment when they are at their best. If your loved one struggles with crowds or long wait times, then ask for an appointment time when the waiting room is less busy. Then, make sure to make the day of the appointment as calm as possible so that your loved one is relaxed when it is time to visit the dentist.

Give the Staff a Heads Up

The ideal dental office for your loved one should be staffed with people who understand how to help people with special needs feel more comfortable. When you make your appointment, let them know about any accommodations that your loved one requires.  For instance, they may offer to meet your loved one beforehand if they experience anxiety around new people.

Break Long Procedures Up

It might seem more convenient to get several cavities filled at once or arrange for a cleaning to happen after an exam. However, spending too much time in the chair may be uncomfortable for your loved one. Ask their dentist if it is possible to break longer procedures up into several shorter appointments that are easier for your loved one to sit through.

Bring Comfort Items

There are many things that you can do to make your loved one's time at the dental office more comfortable. For instance, your loved one may prefer to bring a small pillow along to alleviate strain on their back or neck. Alternatively, they may prefer to listen to music to drown out the sound of the dental instruments. Either way, prepare a care bag with your loved one's favorite comfort items to bring with you on their appointment.

Professional dental care is a major priority for people with special needs who may struggle with oral hygiene at home. While it may take some time to help your loved one adjust, it is possible to make dental visits more comfortable for them. Then, try to stick to the same dental clinic so that your loved one benefits from having exams and cleanings performed by someone that they know and trust.