Sedation dentistry for kids is an excellent way to help a child remain calm during a dental procedure. Many children are afraid of doctor visits, and the dentist is no exception.
Children who have a fear of the dentist tend to fidget more. This makes it more difficult for the dentist to work. Others just don’t want to experience any pain.
Fortunately, sedation dentistry at a kids dentist can help with both of these problems.
Conscious Sedation Dentistry
Not all procedures requires the patient be asleep. In many cases, a small amount of sedation calms them down. Conscious sedation dentistry does exactly that.
Most often, conscious sedation dentistry consists of nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Other sedatives include an oral sedative (pill), or stronger medicines through the veins.
Nitrous oxide makes the child feel relaxed and calm. The dentist can still converse with the child, usually so the dentist can instruct them on positioning while they work.
Nitrous oxide gas is perfect for children who are anxious or nervous about visiting the dentist. It pumps in through a small mask placed over the nose.
As the child breathes normally, they inhale the nitrous oxide, and it relaxes them.
An oral sedative is a bit stronger than nitrous oxide. Oral sedatives work best for children with higher anxiety levels and lower pain thresholds.
Oral sedatives can cause nausea and vomiting in some cases. This is avoided by following the dentist’s instructions regarding taking it.
These instructions may include whether or not the child can eat just prior to a procedure. They will also tell you what to expect during and what to look out for after the procedure.
For children who are uncooperative even with nitrous oxide or oral sedation, general anesthesia may be necessary.
Under general anesthesia, they come right to the brink of sleep. It takes no more than a gentle nudge to awaken them.
This method is reserved as a last resort. If the other methods fail to make the procedure as safe as needed, or when an invasive surgery is required, general anesthesia is most effective.
Regardless of what kind of sedation is required, all sedatives are supervised and adjusted on the fly by the dentist.
Only the minimum amount of sedation is administered to safely complete the procedure. There is no reason to overly sedate a patient.