What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. We now know that there is not one autism but many types, caused by different combinations of genetic and environmental influences.

The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with autism.

Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. Some developmental delays associated with autism can be identified and addressed even earlier. Autism Speaks Canada urges parents with concerns to seek evaluation without delay, as early intervention can improve outcomes.

How can Stouffville Smiles Dentistry help?

Dr. Novin has been treating autistic children for all their dental needs since early 2018. At Stouffville Smiles Dentistry, we work closely with you and the patient to identify their dental needs and their comfort level.

The good news is that the rate of dental disease is generally the same or comparable to the general population. The challenge usually lies in successfully performing preventive and routine dental procedures safely. While some children with autism can generally handle preventive appointments very well, some may have difficulty expressing themselves and adapting to the new environment.

We are also proudly listed on Autism Ontario.

There are a number of ways, we can help:


This technique not only works on the general population with dental anxiety but also works great with children with autism. We will use pictures, gestures, videos and other methods to describe what is going to happen to your child to help reduce their anxiety.

Positive Reinforcement

We use various rewards (not bribes) to help them understand what behaviour is accepted and what is not.

Multiple Visits

Children with Autism generally require multiple visits to get comfortable to the new environment. We usually recommend bringing them in for a quick visit every 3 months to help desensitize them. Most of these visits are scheduled with one of our certified dental assistants or hygienists which makes them very affordable.

Single Visit Sleep Dentistry

Sometimes, if we find there are dental diseases that need immediate attention, we may recommend putting the child to sleep for the initial visit to perform a deep cleaning, take necessary radiographs to be able to diagnose accurately and remove any dental disease. This is usually done either just once depending on the situation or can be repeated up to once a year if necessary start routine 3 months preventive visits to make sure everything is maintained well.

We have been performing sleep dentistry on autistic children since 2018 and are the only general dental office in Stouffville to offer this service.