Unfortunately, not all children have positive memories of the dentist. Some children may be more sensitive or find it difficult to sit still during treatment. But there are solutions that can make receiving dental care more comfortable for them. Sedation options are an effective way to give your child the dental care they need without the discomfort or anxiety that may come with their cleanings or restorative care. There’s no reason that dental treatment should be painful. And all it takes for your child to get started with sedation dentistry is a simple conversation with their dentist.
Laughing gas is safe, effective, and has been used in dentistry since the late 19th century.
Your child’s dentist will review their treatment plan to determine if sedation is a good option for their procedure. Sometimes sedation may be recommended, or necessary, for more invasive or lengthy dental procedures. But there are options that are better for relieving tension and anxiety so your child can remain comfortable during treatment.
The dentist will then discuss with you your child’s health history and current overall health to determine if sedation is appropriate for them. Certain health issues may affect how your child responds to sedation, so it’s important to have a comprehensive view of their physical health before we agree upon sedation.
With the information your child’s dentist has collected, they will lay out all available sedation options and discuss with you each one’s effects and instructions. With their recommendation and your input, we can help you choose the right option for your child and their procedure.
This method of sedation is ideal if your child is nervous at the dentist or if your child has trouble sitting still for their exams and cleanings. The dentist will pump a mixture of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and oxygen through a nose mask, and your child will breathe through this mask whenever directed to do so.
As they breathe in the gas, they’ll begin to feel less nervous, and may experience a “floaty” or “dreamy” feeling. Children don’t fall asleep with laughing gas, but they’ll be very calm throughout their procedure.
A few of the best benefits of this sedation method is that side effects are minimal, and the effects of the sedation wear off within a few minutes of the nose mask being removed. Your child can go back to school or to their daily activities after their appointment.
Oral conscious sedation uses a pill or liquid sedative that your child will take about 30-60 minutes before their appointment. Once the sedative takes effect, they’ll begin to feel groggy and tired. In some cases, your child may end up falling asleep during their treatment, or may forget much of their procedure.
Side effects are more prolonged compared to nitrous oxide sedation. Grogginess will likely continue for 4-6 hours after the appointment, so you will need to plan the rest of your day accordingly.
IV sedation uses the same medication as oral conscious sedation, but it is delivered directly into the bloodstream via an IV. This means your child will be sedated more deeply and the sedation will take effect almost immediately after it’s introduced to the bloodstream.
It’s very common to fall asleep during treatment with IV sedation. Although your child will likely forget much, if not all, of their procedure, they can still be woken up and respond to commands.
Like oral conscious sedation, sleepiness or grogginess will occur for 4-6 hours or longer after their treatment. So you will need to plan the rest of your day accordingly.
General anesthesia is typically used only for the most invasive dental surgeries. This is because it requires the use of a ventilator to help patients breathe, and it will render your child completely unconscious — they will not feel anything or remember anything about the procedure.
Therefore, the need for general anesthesia is rare. Routine dental treatments can usually be performed with other sedation options.
Sedation options keep restless children calm while receiving dental treatment.
Sedation is most often used to treat dental anxiety and keep children at ease during their treatment. Fear of the dentist is very common, and sedation can keep your child calm during their appointments.
Additionally, sedation helps with pain and discomfort during more invasive procedures, such as tooth extractions. It also helps young patients feel more comfortable if they need to sit still for longer treatment times.
As long as your child is healthy and is not taking any medications that may interfere with the sedation, your child should be a good candidate for sedation dentistry. Contact us to learn more about sedation options for your child. We can discuss any concerns you may have during a consultation.
This depends on the method of sedation. With laughing gas, your child will feel light-headed, giggly, and relaxed, but will be fully conscious and aware of their surroundings. They will also feel less discomfort during treatment.
Oral conscious sedation and IV sedation will usually make patients feel groggy or sleepy. Your child will likely fall asleep, and probably won’t remember much about the procedure. However, they will not be unconscious, and can still be woken and respond to commands.
General anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation. Your child will be completely unconscious and will not feel anything or remember anything from the procedure.
When done correctly, sedation dentistry for children, even toddlers, is completely safe. Several precautions are taken to ensure a seamless experience. First, we’ll take a detailed health history to make sure we recommend the right sedation option. We’ll then discuss options with the parent or guardian so that you understand the effects and are prepared to care for your child after their procedure. All methods of sedation dentistry are provided by professionals at our office so you can rest assured that your child’s well-being is of the utmost importance.
16% of school age children have a fear of the dentist.