Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo (dentably.com) – Dr. Grillo has been practicing family dentistry for more than 17 years and has worked with many patients with special needs. To learn more about ADHD and dental care you can read Dr. Grillo’s guide here.
When children visit the dentist, it can be an overwhelming experience. There are a lot of elements at the dentist office such as loud noises, bright lights, and strange tastes that can cause a lot of anxiety in young patients. However, in children and patients with ADHD, dental appointments can be much harder for them. This is because certain behavioral issues can cause increased anxiety and fear.
Children with ADHD are also at a higher risk for suffering from dental issues so it’s important that they visit the dentist regularly and have an effective oral care routine. This article will lay out some tips that parents can use to help their child have successful dental visits as well as how to develop a good dental care routine.
Preparing for the Dentist
It’s important that any child is comfortable with visiting the dentist regularly. As mentioned, children with ADHD may have increased anxiety, fear, or behavioral issues when visiting the dentist. However, there are ways you can prepare at home prior to your child’s dental appointment that can help them to have a successful visit.
The first thing you will want to do is prepare a list of all your child’s medications to discuss with your dentist. Since some medications used to treat ADHD may interact with drugs used in dentistry, your dentist may suggest changing the dose or timing of your child’s medication to optimize the action of the medicine. If changing your child’s dosage or schedule will affect their routine, try changing it a few days or so before the appointment to get them used to the new timing or dose.
Another great way to help your child prepare for their dental visit is by using visual and audio resources to give them an idea of what they can expect. There are many kid-friendly books and videos about going to the dentist that can help ease their anxiety. You can also turn dental visits into an interactive game at home and have your child practice laying down with their feet out flat and their mouth wide open.
Finally, consider scheduling a familiarization appointment for your child. These appointments are scheduled prior to an actual dental appointment and give your child the opportunity to visit the dental office without any work being done. This can help them become familiar with some of the sensory elements and gives them a chance to meet the dentist and office staff in a low-stress setting. Talk to your dentist about scheduling a familiarization appointment as it can be extremely helpful in assuring that your child is comfortable at the dentist office.
During the Dental Appointment
When it’s time for your child’s dental appointment there are some things you can do to assure that it goes smoothly.
It’s a good idea to speak with the dental staff about the best way to communicate with your child. Every child is unique in their needs and the dental staff with want to do their best to interact with your child in a way that your child responds well too.
Clear and concise instructions from both the dentist and you may help your child remain calm and comfortable during their appointment. Short and clear instructions, as opposed to lots of talking, is better so your child doesn’t become flooded and overwhelmed with information. If you can sense your child becoming uneasy, ask the dentist if you can take a short break. Your dentist will be more than happy to accommodate you and your child with whatever they might need.
Dental Care Tips
Since children with ADHD are at a higher risk for dental issues, it’s important that as a parent, you can help them develop a good dental care routine. Here are some tips for dental care at home.
Your child should brush and floss their teeth twice a day. Timers will be helpful in ensuring proper brushing time. If your child is at a higher cavity risk due to their medication, they may benefit from a prescription toothpaste.
Also, avoid rewarding good behavior with starchy carbs and sugary sweets. Since most children with ADHD are prone to cavities and dental caries, it may be best to reward their behavior with toys or other items instead. Encourage your child to hat healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, and cheese.
Dental care is important to your child’s overall health and well being, and while children with ADHD may have some anxiety centered around visiting the dentist, never give up on helping them have successful dental appointments. Luckily, there are many ways you can help your child prepare for visiting the dentist and develop a good oral care routine to lead them on the path towards a healthy mouth.
About Dr. Greg Grillo
Dr. Greg Grillo was born and raised in the Okanogan Valley in Washington state. Dr. Grillo spent eight years at the University of Washington and received a bachelor’s degree with honors before attending the School of Dentistry on the same campus.
From there he was selected for a Health Professions Scholarship by the United States Navy where he served as a dental officer for four years. After treating families of squadron military members in South Carolina and Japan, Dr. Grillo returned home to join his father’s practice where he has remained for more than 17 years.
Dr. Grillo’s more than two decades of expertise, combined with his passion for dental marketing and knowledge of dental software, makes him an invaluable asset to the Emergency Dentists USA & Dentably team.