The gift of a beautiful smile will last your child a lifetime. Sometimes those smiles require a little extra work. Sedation dentistry can be beneficial if your child is afraid of going to the dentist. 

Sedation dentistry is an option to provide safe, pain-free treatment. Please continue reading for more information on sedation dentistry and its uses for children.

Sedation Dentistry

Your probably wondering, “What is sedation dentistry“? Sedation in dentistry can be used in a few different ways. Oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and intravenous sedation are a few of the most common methods used in sedation dentistry. 

Your dentist may recommend sedation dentistry if your child has a high fear of dental care, special needs, or trouble sitting still.

Oral Sedation

Oral sedation utilizes the use of medications by mouth that reduces any anxiety your child may have. Your dentist will instruct your child to take medicine once arriving for their appointment.

The use of this form of sedation also enhances cooperation, making your child’s dental visit as pleasant as possible. Your child will be awake and in a more relaxed state. This form of sedation typically takes effect within twenty minutes.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide sedation or commonly known as laughing gas, is an effective sedative agent. Nitrous oxide is used to give your child a sense of calm and relax any fears they may have during their dental visit.  This form of sedation is effective in a matter of minutes.

Nitrous oxide is considered a mild sedative administered through a face mask with a combination of oxygen. Your child will be instructed to breathe through their nose, experiencing a mild sweet smell.

This form of sedation is effective within five minutes. The mask will remain on your child’s face until the dental procedure is complete. You can expect your child to be awake during the procedure and in high spirits. 

Intravenous Sedation

Intravenous sedation or iv sedation is another form of sedation available.

This type of sedation is beneficial for longer dental procedures. The iv sedation dentistry process uses a carefully inserted needle into a vein, typically in the arm or hand. This may not be the best form of sedation if your child is scared of needles.  

One advantage to this form of dentistry sedation is that the dentist can give your child more medicine as needed during a lengthy procedure. Your dentist will instruct you on any home preparation that may be required before the use of intravenous sedation.

Is Sedation Dentistry Safe

In a 2016 update, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) provided guidelines for the use of anesthesia and sedation for children. 

Before administering any form of sedation, your dentist will carefully review your child’s medical history, list current medications, and obtain their vital signs. 

Any sedation medication used will not control pain. Your child’s dentist will give him or her an injection in the area of treatment to control pain and discomfort during and following the procedure.

Sedation dentistry is generally an appropriate option for most pediatric patients, though not every child will be a good candidate.

How To Prepare Your Child 

Before any sedation dentistry occurs, here are a few suggestions to give your child a positive experience at their next dentist appointment.

Follow all instructions before your child’s appointment as directed by your dentist.

Dress your little one in comfortable clothing, avoid offering them any solid foods before their dental appointment. Be sure to have an updated list of any prescriptions or medications your child is taking. Please bring a favorite toy from home to provide comfort for your child during their dentist visit. 

How Parents Can Help 

Treating your child’s trip to the dentist like any other day is the best method to prevent your child’s anxiety. Remain calm. Try not to make a big deal over the appointment if your child is receiving sedation. 

Ask your dentist if you can sit with your child during the procedure. Allowing your child to see that their parent is not afraid can help deter any anxious behavior.

What To Expect

Your child may experience fatigue, nausea, or become fussy after their sedation dentistry visit. These are normal side effects.

Encourage your child to drink lots of fluids and rest. Use an ice pack if needed to reduce swelling. Your child may experience some oral discomfort. Soft foods and liquids are recommended for the first few hours after their sedation dentistry visit. 

Be careful to monitor your child to ensure they don’t bite their tongue or mouth when consuming solid foods. Your dentist will instruct you on when your child needs to return for a follow-up appointment. 

When To Contact The Dentist

It is important to monitor your child after any form of oral sedation.

Over-the-counter medications can often be recommended for any discomfort your child may experience after their dental procedure. But, this should be discussed with your child’s dentist first. 

If your child experiences any of the following longer than 24 hrs, contact your dentist right away. 

  • Severe pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Severe gum bleeding

Talk With Your Dentist

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child and sedative dentistry, don’t be afraid to contact your dentist. Finding a pediatric dentist with a desire to provide your child with quality care is important. 

If you are unsure about sedation dentistry, make an appointment to discuss options and alternatives with your child’s dentist.

Give Us A Call

At Wheeler Pediatric Dentistry, we want your child to receive the highest quality dental care available. We will provide your child one-on-one attention in developing a custom treatment plan.

Click here for more information on sedation dentistry and allowing your child the most comfortable dental experience possible.