If you have decided to open your home to one or more foster kids, you may already have been advised that teenagers often present a unique challenge. In at least one state, it has been estimated that a minimum of one out of three young children in foster care will experience dental decay. It should also be noted that recent reports have stated that about 35 percent of kids of any age who enter foster care for the first time do so with significant oral health issues. Therefore, in order to give the children temporarily in your care the best chance of a good future, it is a good idea to watch for the following concerns and to make sure they receive the appropriate dental care in a timely manner.
Ask the Social Worker If the Children Under the Age of Three Have Been Assessed Yet by Early Intervention Services
Even though many of the policies that impact your experience as a foster parent will relate to the laws in place in your state, some policies are actually dictated or impacted by federal law. For instance, fosteringperspectives.com references a law enacted in 2003 that requires all states to refer children under the age of three to earl intervention services any time that neglect or abuse of the child has been verified or if the circumstances of the family require the use of child welfare services.
Part of early intervention services will often include dental screenings, so it is possible to detect early stages of baby bottle mouth in young kids and cavities, decay, and other common problems in older children.
Watch for Speech Problems and Unusual Ways a Foster Child May Move Their Facial Muscles
Unfortunately, another common problem is the result of long-term dental neglect or physical abuse. For instance, if a child developed cavities dental infections or sensitive teeth and the problem was not treated, unusual and unhealthy coping mechanism often manifest.
One example is that child may teach themselves to speak without the use of their tongue whenever possible. He or she might also place their tongue over the area that hurts in order to minimize the discomfort while speaking or eating. That can easily result in speech impediments over time. The same may occur if a tooth has been injured, damaged, or knocked out, as it could become second nature to quit using the corresponding facial muscles to speak, eat, or even smile when doing so is always painful. If you see any of those issues, it is crucial to get the child to a pediatric dentist as soon as you can.
In conclusion, foster children often slip through the cracks as they move from one temporary home to the next or as the result of tumultuous lives with their biological families. Prompt care from a qualified and sensitive pediatric dentist like those at A Wild Smile can have a huge impact on the quality of life for the foster kids in your home.Share