Special Needs

Children with Special Needs

We Love Kids, ALL KIDS!

At Giving Tree Pediatric Dentistry, we are fortunate to work with families having a wide range of needs. Our children with special needs include those with Autistic Spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, ADHD; those diagnosed with a wide range of other syndromes as well as those with high anxiety that would benefit from a graduated introduction to dentistry. This is especially true if this is their first experience in a dental office. Dr. Tannen completed a fellowship in Special Care Dentistry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in addition to her general practice and pediatric specialty training and finds it truly magical to watch children with special health care needs gain confidence in the dental setting.

Dental treatment can be intimidating to anyone but especially so for those with special needs who can be easily overwhelmed with changes and new settings/experiences. Some children do not have the ability to fully open their mouths due to jaw development which can decrease their ability to tolerate effective brushing and flossing leaving them at risk for cavities. Children with sensory challenges may be adverse to the sensation and/texture of the toothbrush and many commercial toothpastes. Many children have a limited diet higher in sugar that can also put them at risk for the development of decay. Finding a dental home with a provider that listens, understands, has resources available to the family and can become a therapeutic partner is paramount to establishing a life-long relationship and a child/adult with a healthy beautiful dentition.

The goal of our desensitization program is to custom tailor it to enable every child with varying needs to ultimately become comfortable and maybe even look forward to coming to the dentist. Please note that if your child is currently symptomatic and has active pain/infection; this program will not be effective until the immediate dental needs are addressed.

Social Story

Ask us for a copy of our social story to help prepare your child for his/her first visit.  Help your child become familiar with our office even before stepping into our office!


Our office was designed to comfortably fit large wheelchairs and stretchers in our treatment rooms.

Some helpful tips

  • Please refrain from using words such as pain, needle, scary.
  • Feel free to bring your child’s favorite DVD with you.  We will gladly play them for you in the treatment room.
  • If your child only likes one type of toothpaste flavor used at home, feel free to bring it with you to the office!
  • Don’t forget to bring along comfort objects to help calm your child.
  • Ask us for a copy of our social story to help prepare your child for his/her first dental visit!
  • There are plenty of children’s books about visiting the dentist! Try reading one together before coming in.

We have flexible office hours and can accommodate children who need to be seen in a quiet environment.

We welcome therapy dogs!