Autism and dentistry

28 Aug

I thought this was a good blog post: Autism and Dentistry: Dental Challenges for Families and Treating Dentists. By Darlene Oakley at

I don’t want to copy a lot of the post here–I’d rather send you there. One new and cool piece of information for me: I didn’t know about these two organizations:

Special Care Dentistry Association ( and the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped (,

11 Responses to “Autism and dentistry”

  1. Stephanie August 28, 2009 at 03:31 #

    In Wisconsin, there is a facility (Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – Milwaukee) that specializes in providing care for children, including a dental clinic that is fully equipped to handle children with special needs. I cannot imagine taking my son to a normal dentist. Even with the experienced providers, softer lights, the private room, the hug blanket, and happy gas it’s a very traumatic undertaking to the point that anything besides a cleaning will likely be done under sedation.

    • Sullivan August 28, 2009 at 07:09 #


      I’ve heard people say that taking a kid to a hospital for sedation dentistry has another advantage–medical insurance paying for the anesthesia. I don’t know if it is true, but the thought has stayed with me.

  2. Stephanie August 28, 2009 at 08:30 #

    I don’t know yet about sedation, but our insurance will cover the happy gas (that’s what they call it and I don’t know what it really is) at the hospital, but not at a regular dental office.

  3. nhokkanen August 30, 2009 at 20:56 #

    Read about the potential adverse effect of nitrous oxide on ASD children with the MTHFR gene deletion and/or deficiency of Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin).

    “Severe Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Deficiency, Methionine Synthase, and Nitrous Oxide — A Cautionary Tale” by Richard W. Erbe, M.D., and Robbert J. Salis, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 349:5-6 July 3, 2003 Number 1.

    “Adverse Effect of Nitrous Oxide in a Child with 5,10-Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase Deficiency” by Rebecca R. Selzer, Ph.D., David S. Rosenblatt, M.D., Renata Laxova, M.D., and Kirk Hogan, M.D., J.D., New England Journal of Medicine,
    349;1, July 3, 2003.

    A letter in Arch Dis Child 2001;85:510 (December) from Isabel Smith, Clinical Audit Department, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London states:
    “Nitrous oxide inactivates cobalamin, the active derivative of vitamin B12 and essential cofactor for the transfer of the methyl group from methyltetrahydrofolate to homocysteine to form methionine. For subjects with good body stores of cobalamin this effect is unimportant, but no-one using this agent should remain unaware of the potentially devastating complications in the nervous system of using nitrous oxide in subjects who are of borderline or deficient vitamin B12 status. Onset of subacute combined degeneration affecting the brain and spinal cord is a well documented event when individuals with low body stores of cobalamin are exposed to nitrous oxide.”

  4. Dawn August 30, 2009 at 21:44 #

    Hi, Sullivan. I don’t recall if it is a state mandate or a federal one, but I know in my state, sedation for developmentally delayed children/adults for dental treatment must be covered. It’s been a while since I looked at the requirements, so I’m not sure if location (dental office vs hospital) is specified. I’ll look tomorrow when I am back at work and have the info more readily available.

    OK….googled it. State mandate

  5. dr. alizadeh April 24, 2010 at 07:48 #

    hello i want to know about how can i do to treatment one patient that have autism . whether this patient need to special attention during dental treatment.

  6. Tom April 25, 2010 at 15:33 #

    Severe methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase deficiency is incredibly rare, about 50 cases worldwide. The condition has no relation to autism.

  7. Julian Frost April 30, 2012 at 14:51 #

    “internet marketing” is a spammer.

    • Sullivan April 30, 2012 at 20:11 #

      Julian Frost:

      thanks! (I’ve deleted the spam comment)


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    […] Left Brain/Right Brain also has a post about autism and dentistry that leads you to an article by Darlene […]

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