Life is a continuous journey of self-discovery, often revealing mysteries within ourselves. Less than a year ago, I received a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has proven to be a profoundly relieving and revealing experience both personally and professionally. This diagnosis has brought not only relief but also valuable insights into my emotional well being.

Self-awareness is fundamental to leading any organization
Self-awareness is fundamental to leading any organization.

Previously, we discussed self-awareness as fundamental to leading any organization, aligning thoughts, emotions, values, strengths, and weaknesses. Being neurodiverse and unaware of it posed challenges. With my ADHD diagnosis, it was like finding the missing piece of a complex puzzle, explaining inexplicable struggles and alleviating guilt and self-doubt.

Understanding ADHD allowed me to approach challenges with compassion and self-acceptance, integrating strategies for overcoming them. My journey began with a fortuitous encounter with a YouTube video by Simon Sinek, prompting a deeper exploration and eventual diagnosis.

Challenges in Dentistry with ADHD:

Living with undiagnosed ADHD in a demanding profession like dentistry presents unique challenges. Tasks requiring focus, organization, and time management can seem insurmountable. Precision and attention to detail, essential in dentistry, can be hindered by ADHD traits.

Three Fundamental Challenges:

  1. Inattention to administrative tasks.

  2. Time blindness.

  3. Rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD).

Addressing these challenges requires deliberate strategies and support mechanisms within the dental practice. Designating specific team members for administrative roles, incorporating timekeeping mechanisms, and fostering a culture of empathy can mitigate the impact of ADHD.

Enhancing Professional Practice:

Armed with self-awareness and strategies, I've improved efficiency and patient care in my practice. Breaking tasks into manageable steps, creating structured schedules, and embracing empathy in patient interactions have been transformative.

Benefits of a Neurodiverse Brain:

Strengths of a neurodiverse brain include creativity and precision in clinical practice and education
Strengths of a neurodiverse brain include creativity and precision in clinical practice and education.

While acknowledging challenges, it's essential to recognize the strengths of a neurodiverse brain. Out-of-the-box thinking and hyperfocus are valuable assets in dentistry, contributing to creativity and precision in clinical practice and education.

Advocacy and Education:

My personal journey with an ADHD diagnosis has ignited a passion for advocating mental health and championing neurodiversity within the dental community. By openly sharing my experiences, I aspire to not only dismantle the stigma associated with ADHD but also to cultivate a more inclusive and empathetic atmosphere in dental practices. It is my fervent belief that fostering a culture of understanding around neurodiversity will not only benefit professionals like me but will enhance the overall well-being of both practitioners and patients alike.

Embracing Neurodiversity:

Embracing neurodiversity not only benefits practitioners but also creates a more compassionate and inclusive healthcare environment. With clarity from my diagnosis, I navigate challenges with resilience, transforming perceived weaknesses into strengths. It is in this vein that I would like to proudly accept the ADHD acronym but propose to modify what it stands for to: “Attentive Dedicated Hyper-Focused Dentist.”

Embracing neurodiversity in dentistry is a journey of self-discovery and growth. By choosing to see the glass as half full, we can create a more supportive and understanding community within the dental profession.

Ricardo Mitrani, D.D.S., M.S.D., is a Spear Resident Faculty member.


Commenter's Profile Image Trish T.
March 22nd, 2024
That describes you perfectly, Dr. Mitrani! Attentive, dedicated & hyper-focused dentist! And, always a joy to be around! Thank you for the interesting and insightful article.
Commenter's Profile Image TJ I.
March 28th, 2024
Thank you for this article, Ricardo! I shared it with my wife, and she asked me if I wrote it under a pen-name. I’ve been struggling with motivation and energy for more than a year. In July of last year, I got a diagnosis of moderate depression and mild anxiety. I started medication, and things were just ok. My wife noticed a difference, but I didn’t. After talking with a staff member who had recently been diagnosed with ADHD, I decided to pursue my own testing. After an exhaustive process, I was diagnosed with Moderate ADHD: Predominantly Inattentive Type. I started medication about 3 weeks ago, and it’s been life-changing. More than the medication, the awareness of what has been “off” over the years has been so “relieving and revealing.” Perfectly put. Looking back, it connects so many dots for me. With my airway lens, and knowing that I had undiagnosed Obstructive Sleep Apnea from early childhood until at least age 20, it makes so much sense in hindsight. It’s given me some grace for myself (without feeling sorry or making excuses) and re-lit the fire to help my airway patients, especially the pediatric ones. Thanks again for this vulnerable look at a challenging topic!