Perhaps your child was recently diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Maybe you're currently looking for a new family dentist to treat your child with ADHD. You may begin to wonder if your child's condition will play much of a role in their dental health.
ADHD itself does not affect dental health. There can be an elevated risk of cavities if your child neglects their dental hygiene, and ADHD can make this specific part of your child's daily routine difficult for them to follow. Supervising children as they clean their teeth is an easy way to overcome this potential issue. Additionally, ADHD medications may contribute to reduced saliva flow, which can dry the mouth out.
Standard pediatric dental exams remain the same, regardless of whether the patient has ADHD. Your child will not need to see their dentist any more or any less than any other patient as a result of their ADHD. However, it's important to be sure that the dentist in question is able to accommodate your child's condition. This can be especially significant after the initial diagnosis, or when looking for a new dentist to treat your family.
Logistics of the Visit
While no special treatment plan is necessary for a dental patient with ADHD, the logistics of visiting the dental clinic can be relevant. Ideally, waiting times should be minimized as much as possible. Consider scheduling appointments for the clinic's less-busy periods. Ask reception staff for the best times. Some waiting may be unavoidable, so be sure to bring any diversionary materials your child appreciates (such as a smartphone for mobile games or videos, or a book).
However, before that first appointment, ask the dental clinic if a familiarization visit is possible. This is nothing more than a brief visit to the clinic, allowing your child to meet the staff and become acquainted with the layout, which may make the actual appointment more productive. A familiarization visit is certainly not mandatory, and it's a question of whether you think it would be advantageous for your child.
There's another thing that can be beneficial prior to that first pediatric dental exam at the clinic. You may want to ask about their sedation plan. It's helpful to have a prior understanding of this, as it may need to be implemented spontaneously. Partial sedation may prove to be necessary if patient compliance is difficult to achieve. Put simply, your child's ADHD can make it hard for them to remain necessarily still during the appointment. Partial dental sedation can involve gas (nitrous oxide) or a light oral sedative. This provides a calming effect, and your child will remain conscious.
Although ADHD is a disorder, it's not one that should impact your child's dental health or their access to dental healthcare.