I have ADHD. Always have and always will. In my earlier days, it led to my mom getting a lot of phone calls from my Principal and a general feeling that I was a “discipline challenge”. But the story has a happy ending. Amazing mentors and great teachers helped me learn how to use my excess energy to my advantage. I became a great student, a focused learner and now, at age 51, my excess energy allows me the ability to go farther and deeper into continuing education when many of my peers simply run out of steam. So, if your child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, fear not. However, one must be sure of the diagnostic accuracy.
The last 10 years have brought some amazing insights into the world of orthodontics. We’ve seen the advance of things like clear aligners and 3D scanners to replace those old goopy molds. Even better, we’ve learned about the ways in which we might be able to help kids (and adults) who’ve been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
What?!?! Did I hear Dr. Krieger say that he can cure ADD and ADHD? Um, no. Notice that I said: “we mightbe able to help…”. No orthodontist or physician can “cure” ADD or ADHD, but these diagnoses are often made by accident when there is something else going on. Something that we CAN help.
To better understand, one needs to first think about the symptoms of ADD and ADHD; Irritability, fidgeting, inability to focus, discipline issues and sometimes “tuning out”. Every single one of these symptoms can also be a classic presentation of someone who isn’t getting deep restful sleep. If little Johnny or Suzie is waking up many times during the night, even for a few seconds, their sleep pattern will be disturbed and even though they’ve been in bed for 11 hours, they may not ever have gotten the necessary deep sleep to recharge their systems. So, they go to school, have a hard time focusing, do poorly on exams and get taken to the doctor who diagnoses them with an attention issue. But what if the medicine worked?
What’s interesting to note that for most kids with some form of attention issue (like two of my own kids), the prescription is a stimulant medication. In many cases, marked turnarounds in the child’s behavior occur, but I’ll ask you this: Ever had coffee in the morning or caffeine in the workday when you’re tired? Of course. So, if your child is suffering because of lack of sleep, what will a stimulant do for them? Make them more attentive, less fidgety, more focused, etc. So, when we see a child doing better on stimulant medication, it doesn’t mean that they’re ADD or ADHD. It also doesn’t mean that they’re not.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time studying with the masters of sleep medicine and sleep disordered breathing in the pediatric population and I can tell you that for the kids who aren’t getting the sleep they need, I can often help them. How? That’s a much longer discussion for a longer post, but for now, I can tell you that my time with master educators in this arena, we now understand how the orthodontist who is well educated in sleep medicine can be the center hub in the wheel of therapy to help these kids sleep better and reduce the risk of future sleep apnea.
To learn more, please call us at 972-899-1465 or email us at info@Kriegersmiles.comto schedule a free consultation for your child. You can also always reach out to me personally with any questions you may have at my email Doc@kriegersmiles.com.
I can’t promise that we can solve all kids’ problems, but for those kids who have been misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD who and have sleep disordered breathing issues, there is now hope. PLEASE contact us immediately and schedule some time for us to meet and perform an exam.