Some pediatric dental procedures do not require more than local anesthesia, but young children with trouble sitting still or staying calm in the dentist’s chair may benefit from additional sedative measures.
Sedation dentistry offers a safe, gentle way for some children to feel more comfortable during their procedure and receive the care they need for a healthy, happy smile.
Our pediatric dental team offers a variety of sedation methods, ranging from mild sedatives to general anesthesia, to help struggling little ones make it through otherwise challenging procedures.
Are Dental Sedation Methods Safe for Children?
If the thought of your child undergoing dental sedation brings up feelings of anxiety, you’re not alone! Many parents worry that dental sedation may not be safe for their child or may cause adverse reactions during or after the procedure.
Rest assured that your child’s safety is our pediatric team’s first priority. We take every precaution to ensure the appointment goes safely and smoothly for your child. Sedation can:
- Calm your child’s nerves
- Decrease the amount of pain they might experience
- Keep them relaxed and still while we work
- Help your child’s appointment go more successfully and effectively
Dental sedation can help your child relax, and help our team fulfill their dental needs more safely and efficiently. Our sedation methods are safely administered and monitored throughout the appointment.
Types of Children’s Dental Sedation
Before your child’s appointment, we encourage you to learn about the various sedation methods we offer to help your little one have the best possible experience during the visit.
Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a blend of both oxygen and nitrous gas that provides mild sedation during dental procedures. The gas is breathed in and out through a small mask placed over the child’s nose.
Before we use laughing gas on your child, please notify our office of:
- Any updates, changes, or important details in their health history
- A list of any current medications your child is taking
- Any recent or current ear infections, nasal congestion, or respiratory conditions
Laughing gas takes effect quickly through normal breathing and is cleared from the body quickly after it is turned off prior to the child finishing their appointment. It allows your child to relax during the dental procedure—taking the edge off of any mild anxiety they may have—while remaining fully conscious and awake.
Children that are very apprehensive or have special needs often require a slightly stronger level of sedation to allow dental treatment to be completed safely and comfortably. Conscious sedation is a moderate level of sedation that allows your child to become drowsy or possibly fall asleep, but remain conscious and maintain all reflexes throughout the procedure.
There are a variety of medications that can be used, and the doctor will recommend the best medication based on your child’s medical history and the dental treatment required.
Prior to your child’s conscious sedation appointment please:
- Notify our office immediately of any changes in health. A cough, cold, ear infection or fever can often interfere with the safety of the sedation.
- Notify our office of any changes in medications or any recent allergies.
- Dress your child in loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Layers are encouraged.
- Ensure your child has had nothing to eat or drink after midnight before their sedation appointment. If your child takes daily medication, discuss with your doctor their recommendations on how to safely take it while ensuring safe sedation.
- Make sure a legal guardian remains in the office the entire length of the sedation and remains with your child the rest of the day to ensure the medication has worn off before any activity.
General anesthesia is the deepest level of sedation and is used for most surgeries in coordination with an anesthesiologist, often in a hospital, surgical center, or in-office surgical setting. An anesthesiologist administers all medications and monitors your child throughout the procedure while the dentist can safely provide the most necessary dental treatments at one appointment.
If your child receives general anesthesia for his or her dental procedure, you can expect one or more of the following side effects:
- Increased tiredness for up to 24 hours after sedation
- Dizziness or nausea, ranging from mild to moderate symptoms
- A sore nose, mouth, or throat for one to two days following the procedure
- Decreased activity levels, as rest is required for at least a day after treatment
- Decreased appetite levels that return to normal the next day
This level of sedation may make it so your child does not remember the procedure at all, which is normal. Ensure you have given your child’s care team a full and accurate medical history, including:
- Any recent changes in their health status
- Any medications or supplements they are taking
- Any respiratory, ear, or nasal conditions or infections experienced recently
This information is important for a safe and successful experience for your child and his or her dental team during the procedure.
Schedule an Appointment with Silverdale Dental Center’s Experienced Pediatric Dental Team
For more information on the types of dental sedation methods we use to help your child during their appointment, give our practice a call. We can assess your child’s needs and help you make an informed decision about the right sedation methods for a successful dental experience.