How to Help Increase Comfort at the Dentist for Children with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

If your child has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, chances are the joints in their jaw are affected. This can create stiffness, soreness, swelling, and pain, making trips to the dentist something your child may dread. However, maintaining your child's oral hygiene during their developing years is extremely important. Try following these tips to help increase your child's comfort when they go to the dentist.

Oral Painkillers

If your child has a dentist appointment coming up, plan in advance to keep their pain under control. Taking pain killers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen ahead of time will allow your child's body to digest the pill and get the medication into the bloodstream before the pain starts. This means that the medication will already be available to the body when the jaw joints are under stress, keeping your child's pain better-managed than if they took the medication just before or during their treatment.

The time in advance your child should take the medication will vary depending on what they're taking and the form of the medication. For example, a liquid pain reliever tends to be digested much more quickly than one in pill form. Ask your child's rheumatologist or general practitioner for advice, or as a general rule, give the medication at least an hour in advance, since most pain killers are expected to last for several hours after being taken.

Pediatric Dentist

Another choice that may help your child's discomfort level is to choose a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist. While any dentist can examine and clean your child's teeth, pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with smaller mouths. Since your child's mouth may not be able to open as wide as one's who doesn't have JRA, a pediatric dentist will be better-equipped to work under these conditions.

Another advantage of seeing a pediatric dentist is that they'll have child-sized jaw rests that they can use. Jaw rests placed between the upper and lower rows of teeth, and they keep the jaw open without your child having to hold their mouth open themselves. This will allow the muscles surrounding the temporomandibular joints to relax, which should help to relieve discomfort and reduce the stress on the joints.

Remember to speak openly with your child's dentist regarding their juvenile rheumatoid arthritis so the dentist can act accordingly. With these tips, your child will experience less discomfort, and visiting the dentist will no matter be something for them to dread.

Make an appointment with a dentistry such as Hoffman & Karl Dental Associates, PLLC soon to support your child's oral hygiene.