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Keywords:

  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • behavioural sciences;
  • child;
  • dentistry

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is currently the most common behavioural disorder in school-age children. The aim of this study was to perform a detailed analysis of behavioural interactions between the dentist and the child patient with ADHD. All children born in 1991 (n = 555) in one Swedish municipality were screened for attention and learning problems, and assessed for ADHD. Twenty-two children with ADHD, and a control group of 47 children without attention and learning problems, were included in the study. The dental recall visit was recorded on video. The interaction between the dentist and the child was analysed in detail and scored as verbal and non-verbal initiatives and responses. Compared to the children in the control group, the children with ADHD made significantly more initiatives, especially initiatives that did not focus on the examination or the dentist. The children with ADHD had fewer verbal responses and more missing responses. In conclusion, the problems in communication resulted in less two-way communication between the dentist and the children with ADHD than the interaction between the dentist and the children in the control group. The children with ADHD had particular difficulties staying focused on the examination.