Thank you for your question. It’s shared by so many people with loved ones who are affected by autism. Of course dental procedures can be uncomfortable and scary for anyone. This distress is amplified for many children and adults with autism. And I certainly understand that you find it emotionally wrenching to see your son physically restrained – even if it’s for his safety.
Fortunately, we have a broad range of treatment options – including conscious sedation. While generally safe when administered by trained experts, sedation comes with risk. Perhaps you’ve even read the recent tragic news of the young girl who went into cardiac arrest after an apparent overdose of sedative drugs before a root canal.
Clearly, risks must be balanced against benefits. It’s also important to know that dentists don’t generally receive training in the use of restraints, sedation or anesthesia during standard dentistry education. So I recommend seeking out a dentist who has completed additional training with a focus on these procedures. Once you have such a dentist whom you trust, I suggest discussing the pros and cons of the following options.