Safe Sedation Dentistry for Children
The vast majority of children treated in our office is done with basic behavior management techniques such as laughing gas. Depending on the situation, your child may require treatment completed using nitrous oxide, oral sedation, or general anesthesia. Our priority to treat children in a safe environment, completing exceptional dentistry, while striving for them to have a positive experience.
Why is Sedation Used in Pediatric Dentistry?
With our training as pediatric specialists, we effectively utilize behavioral guidance techniques such as positive reinforcement, distraction, tell-show-do and many others with most patients for our dental care. At times more advanced techniques are required and sedation is necessary.
We use sedation to provide a safe, calm, appointment so that we can give the best dental care, while still having our patients love to come back and see us. Sedation is recommended in our office based upon several factors including age, behavior, amount of dental work, fear, etc. We recommend sedation only when we believe it is necessary and will evaluate the right type of sedation based upon the individual child.
The 3 Types of Sedation Dentistry We Use with Children
We provide all types of sedation and as specialists in pediatric dentistry, we are trained and certified for these procedures. Following is a brief description of the types of sedation we provide.
Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective solution to help a child stay comfortable, happy, and cooperative for their dental appointment. While every medication can have side effects, nitrous oxide has very few complications and is one of the safest tools we have in pediatric dentistry.
Nitrous is administered via a small mask over the nose, where a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen is inhaled by the child, resulting in relaxation. With nitrous gas, your child is fully awake and can answer questions and follow instructions. Once the procedure is completed, the nitrous is turned off and the patient breaths oxygen for a few minutes. The effects of nitrous oxide are gone within a few minutes and the child is back to normal.
Complications can include nausea and vomiting and aspiration. Please inform us if your child has been recently ill or nasally congested. We will also review the patinets medical history, including information about current medications and chronic conditions such as asthma.
At times, nitrous oxide alone is not a viable option, due to extreme fear, young age, or a larger amount of dental work needs to be completed. When this occurs, oral sedation can be a viable option to complete the dental care. Oral sedation is when the child drinks a liquid medicine and becomes extremely relaxed. The patient is still awake and conscious, but much deeper than with the effects of nitrous gas alone. As specialists in pediatric dentistry, we are extensively trained in oral sedation.
As pediatric specialists we also provide dental care with general anesthesia when children are completely asleep for the procedure. This is recommended in certain situations such as young age, behavior does not allow, significant dental treatment, severe anxiety, etc.
Our patients are treated either in our office with a dentist anesthesiologist or at surgical center or St. Mary’s with an anesthesiologist. If general anesthesia is recommended with your child, we will discuss the risks, benefits, and all options with you at your exam.
Get Help with a Pediatric Sedation Dentist
Sedation is a very important part of pediatric dentistry and not treated lightly. It will only be recommended when we feel that it is necessary and is for the safety and comfort of your child. If needed, we will recommend exactly which type of procedure is best for your child based upon their evaluation and their dental needs.