Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can face a higher level of dental problems than children who are not affected by ADHD, even though the condition itself doesn't directly affect the teeth and gums. As the parent of a child with ADHD, how can you help your child's dental health and ensure that they're not at a disadvantage?

The Best Dental Clinic for Your Child

You must be sure that your child sees a dentist who is well equipped to treat a patient with ADHD. This may not necessarily be your own dentist. A family dentistry clinic is likely to have experience treating children with special needs. The clinic may have a range of diversionary tactics available (such as your child being able to watch a TV show during their treatment) to overcome inattention and the subsequent lack of cooperation. The clinic may also schedule appointments in a way to minimize waiting times, which again helps to overcome some behavioral matters associated with your child's condition.

The Need for Dental Sedation

A clinic experienced in treating children with special needs will also have a sedation plan. This might sound excessive, but children with ADHD may have difficulty maintaining the necessary position in the dental chair. Sedation can streamline certain dental procedures, even relatively minor ones. Dental sedation rarely involves general anesthetic to render a patient unconscious. Conscious sedation is more likely, and this simply calms a patient in order to allow the dentist to complete the necessary work. 

Issues Related to ADHD Medication

This necessary work may involve treating conditions that have arisen from the use of ADHD medication, if any has been prescribed for your child. Some ADHD medications can lead to reduced saliva production, resulting in dry mouth. Saliva helps to neutralize acids in the mouth, preventing this acidic residue from eroding your child's dental enamel. While staying hydrated is critical, dry mouth caused by ADHD medication can lead to an increased incidence of dental cavities, which need to be identified and treated as soon as possible. If your child's dentist feels that your child is especially vulnerable to cavities and general decay, they may suggest more frequent appointments. 

ADHD is very much a special need, which is why it's so essential to find a dentist who understands your child's specific needs, along with being sure that your child maintains the best possible oral hygiene at home. Look for a family dentistry near you to learn more.