Autism At The Dentist

Whether you, yourself are an autistic individual or you are the caretaker of an autistic person, you know that dentist visits can be quite an ordeal. There are loud noises, bright lights, and the grating feeling of the drill against your teeth. Not to mention the impossible social situation of a dentist asking you questions about how your summer was while they have their hands stuffed in your mouth (How are you supposed to answer??). There are several tools you can use to make the dentist more bearable as an autistic person.

Red Flags

A literal red flag (or another easily visible object) can help you communicate with your dentist when you are unable to speak. Your hand will also work. If the buzzing of the drill becomes too much for your sensory issues to handle, simply hold up the flag to signal to your dentist that you need a break. Let your dentist know ahead of time what this means.

Weighted Vest

Dentists typically have a weighted vest used to protect your body when they take x-rays of your mouth. Often, if you ask, they can leave this on you during the whole visit. For those that enjoy pressure therapy, this can help to calm you during a visit.


It may be worthwhile to bring a pair of cheap sunglasses to the dentist with you. This will offset the bright lights that end up shining in your eyes (and additionally, reduce the expectation for eye contact).


Many dentists offer laughing gas during appointments if you know you will be nervous. Something slightly less common is sedation dentistry Hampton VA, which allows you to be sedated for the duration of the appointment. When all else fails and the dentist just isn’t something that you can deal with, sometimes sedation is the best option.

Going to the dentist can be a difficult experience for an autistic person. When you go to your next appointment, make sure you have with you the tools that may help you and ask your orthodontist what they may be able to offer.