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Nonverbal Patient With Autism Spectrum Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Use of Desensitization to Acclimatize to a Dental Appliance

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Patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) may have difficulty tolerating conventional dental treatment due to aberrant sensory responsiveness. The purpose of this report was to describe the successful treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a nonverbal 20-year-old male patient with ASD using a dental appliance. A series of appointments prepared the patient for the required treatment procedures and desensitized him for use of the final appliance. The final appliance improved outcomes of a post-treatment sleep study, indicating successful treatment of OSA. Understanding the specific challenges of patients with ASD and the patience and foresight of providers in approaching these challenges, in collaboration with caregivers, can contribute to improved health outcomes for these patients.
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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C., USA; Private practice, Bington, N.C., USA. [email protected] 2: Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn., USA 3: Department of Prosthodontics and Center for Pain Research and Innovation, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, N.C., USA

Publication date: November 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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