Dental Appointments for Children with ADHD

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The following is a guest post about dental appointments for children with ADHD. Get some tips on how to make it easier on your child.

Dental Appointments for Children with ADHD - Tips and Tricks to Make it Easier

Dental Appointments for Children with ADHD

A Guest Post by Dr. Greg Grillo (

Visiting the dentist can be a really overwhelming experience for children which ends up being a source of endless anxiety. For children with ADHD, this can be significantly worse. Dental offices tend to have tons of colors, noises, strangers, and distractions that can aggravate their behavior patterns and make them very cranky.

The fact that children with ADHD are at an increased risk for dental problems means that you absolutely can’t neglect regular dental visits. The fact that you love your child, and there are other issues that seem more pressing means that you may not be going as often as necessary.

This article will help you understand the specific dental needs associated with ADHD, and help you prepare your child with ADHD for their dental visits. You will learn how to take the necessary precautions to ensure they receive the care they deserve without the headache and hassle.

Prepare Your Dentist

A lot of the focus in these articles tends to be how to prepare your children, but actually a lot of work can be done before they arrive. Preparing your pediatric dentist is critical to a successful dental partnership between the dentist and your child with ADHD.

Find an Expert

First, make sure that you have found a pediatric dentist who is familiar with and trained to care for patients with ADHD. This will help them understand your child’s unique needs and let you rest assured that your dentist is going to be patient and caring towards your child.

Share Medical Records

You should also make sure that when you arrive for your appointments, you bring a list of all of your child’s medications. This lets your dentist know what he can and can’t prescribe when it comes to drug interactions. Giving them access to your child’s full and current medical history can also offer better insight to personalized and effective care.

Effective Communication Skills

Let your dental staff know how your child responds best. If they can communicate to your child with ADHD in their language and terms, then things will go a lot smoother and your child will be much more comfortable and far less anxious. Generally, being clear and concise will work best instead of a dentist who floods them with too much information.

Morning Appointments

Schedule your appointments in the morning and make sure your dentist knows how imperative it is to be on time and work quickly. Several studies have shown that 30 to 60 minutes after a child has taken their ADHD medication is the best time for them. They are less likely to be anxious or display typical behavioral symptoms and more open to paying attention without distractions. Avoid the times of day when the medications start to wear off, so your child is more likely to respond positively.

Preparing Your Child

There are also ways that you can prepare your child with ADHD for success at the dentist. Engaging in calming activities can help them to slow down and prepare to hear and learn about the dentist. Here are some other great ways to get them ready.

Establish Oral Hygiene Routines

Children with ADHD are at an increased risk for oral problems due to the effects their medications have on them. Habits like grinding their teeth and impatience during tooth brushing times elevate the risk even further.

Establish a healthy oral hygiene routine and make it fun. When your kids are distracted by music and dance, they’re less likely to get impatient about having to continuously scrub their teeth for the requisite amount of time, and may even look forward to the time of day they get to have a tooth brushing party.

Healthy Diets

Children are naturally picky eaters, and that goes doubly for children with ADHD, who are both picky and impatient. If you start to establish healthy eating from a very young age, and limit their sugar intake from candies, sugary cereals, sodas, juices, and even milk, then you can help ensure that their dental trips won’t be stress filled experiences where they’re constantly having cavities filled and teeth cleaned.

Prepare Them

Make appointments in advance that won’t require any actual dental work. Let them sit and play in the waiting room for a while, so they can get used to the sights and sounds. Let them meet their dentist and the staff, so these people won’t be strangers that they are uncomfortable around and afraid to trust. Have your dental staff show them the different pieces of equipment, and how they move and sound, so they are less likely to wander around the room asking about these tools while their dentist is trying to work on their mouth and keep them still and focused.

There are a lot of great books and resources available that are directed at children’s anxieties about the dentist. Programs like Sesame Street and others have several episodes dedicated to reducing fear of the dentist. Start reading these books with them so they know what to expect and don’t feel afraid.

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