If your child experiences dental anxiety or needs to undergo a procedure, you should know about pediatric sedation. Sedation can help your child feel more relaxed at the dentist, which allows for treatments to be more efficient. It can also provide pain-free comfort for procedures such as tooth extractions or fillings.
There are several types of sedation used by pediatric dentists. The one that is best for your child may depend on your child’s comfort levels and needed procedures. Here are the options your pediatric dentist may discuss with you.
Nitrous oxide is commonly referred to as “laughing gas.” It’s one of the safest forms of sedation. If your child receives nitrous oxide, they will have a nasal mask placed over their mouth and nose. The gas they breathe in will promote relaxation and comfort with no lasting side effects. This sedation is best for short, non-invasive dental procedures.
Oral conscious sedation is achieved when your child takes oral medication. Your child will remain conscious during their dental procedure but will experience minimal pain. However, your child may feel groggy, and there are some lingering effects. Oral conscious sedation is helpful for controlling anxiety and preventing psychological trauma from dental procedures.
Intravenous (IV) sedation provides stronger sedation than nitrous oxide or oral conscious sedation. With IV sedation, your child might enter a semi-conscious state. The doctor will evaluate your child’s health and medical history and carefully monitor their vitals during sedation. This form of sedation works well with longer or more invasive dental treatments.
If your child needs general anesthesia, they will go to a surgery center for their dental procedure and sedation. General anesthesia produces a loss of consciousness. Your child won’t feel pain during their treatment and will also be able to lie completely still so the pediatric dentist can work effectively and efficiently. We usually recommend general anesthesia if your child needs to have several cavities treated, is too young to cooperate, has a strong dental phobia, or where other forms of sedation have not worked.
We want all of our pediatric patients to feel safe and comfortable when they visit the dentist. We offer pediatric sedation dentistry for children who have dental anxiety or who need treatment to improve their oral health. Please contact us if you have questions about options for your child.