Treating the ADHD Patient in the Dental Office

Treating the patient with ADHD in the dental office requires knowledge of health history/medication implications, recognition of possible oral presentations, and flexibility in adjusting the treatment plan.

Below are some tips that can be given to the parents/caregivers of a patient with ADHD:

  • If the parent or caregiver is anxious about the dental office visit, suggest another family member or friend take the child to the appointment.
  • Recommend that the adult talk to the child about visiting the dental office. They should be advised to use words the child will understand in a positive or neutral tone of voice. The adult caregiver should avoid terms like ‘shot’ and ‘drill’.
  • Picture books can be helpful to explain what will happen.
  • Ask the parent or caregiver to provide suggestion on how to create a successful visit.31
  • The parent and child can be offered a tour of the office prior to the appointment to familiarize the child to the routine and thus lower anxiety levels.28

Treating a patient with ADHD does not have to be a stressful experience. The acronym UNCAPPED may help appointments run more smoothly.11

  • Understanding for your patient
  • Non-judgmental attitude
  • Calm. Stay calm and relaxed
  • Attitude. Keep a positive attitude
  • Praise. Be generous with positive praise
  • Patient. Be patient with your client’s needs
  • Empathy
  • Directness