Sedation Dentistry for Kids: What You Need to Know

Sedation dentistry for kids

Most dental treatments only require a local anesthetic – the shot you receive before a filling or other simple procedure that numbs that area from any pain. However, sedation dentistry for kids is used in cases where local anesthesia isn’t sufficient.

If your child is undergoing a serious procedure or has special needs, you should know these important facts about sedation dentistry.

What is sedation dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a common practice used for patients of all ages, not just children. Very intensive procedures can often call for sedation to prevent pain during the procedure.

The use of sedation also depends largely on the patient being treated. Some patients can have particularly sensitive teeth or may have a resistance to local anesthetic. Others have had negative experiences in the past or have general anxiety.

Sedation keeps the patient calm and relaxed, improving their experience and letting the dentist carry out the treatment. Movement during the procedure can cause issues, so your child may require sedation to keep them still.

What types of sedation are available?

There are several different types of sedation that are appropriate in different situations and for different patients. Determining the right type of sedation for any situation is something you’ll need to discuss with the dentist.

They’ll be able to determine the best sedation option based on your child’s history, your input, and the nature of the procedure to be done. You know your child is best, so it’s important to voice any concerns you might have about sedation. Your dentist will be able to explain the available options thoroughly.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide is one of the most widely used options in sedation dentistry. It’s widely known in popular culture as “laughing gas,” although most depictions of its effects aren’t particularly accurate.

Nitrous oxide is inhaled through a mask or nose piece and takes full effect within five minutes. The dentist carefully adjusts the dosage to ensure that your child is sufficiently sedated for the procedure.

This type of sedation leaves your child’s system quickly after the treatment is completed. The dentist provides oxygen through the mask afterward to help speed up the process. Your child will be back to normal quickly. In fact, most adults who have nitrous oxide can drive home after their procedure.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is another sedation option. This is the type of anesthesia where the patient is rendered unconscious or put to sleep for the duration of the procedure, as is common in surgery.

In adults, general anesthesia is generally reserved for serious surgeries. Most adults who have complicating factors visiting the dentist are sufficiently calmed by nitrous oxide, but some children may require general anesthesia.

Which type of sedation is right for my child?

You can’t know for sure which type of sedation will be right for your child until your consultation with the best pediatric specialist in the greater Nebraska area. Sedation dentistry is unique to every patient, so there are no quick, general answers to this question.

Nitrous oxide is primarily used to calm and relax your child. Children who are deeply anxious or frightened by dental treatment can benefit greatly from this sedative. This is also the case for children who have difficulty with new situations, strangers, or changes in their routine.

In some cases, nitrous oxide isn’t enough to prepare a child for their dental treatment. Children with special needs may not understand what’s happening and can become severely frightened and agitated. They may move unexpectedly during a procedure, potentially causing an accident or injury.

In these cases, general anesthesia may be appropriate to make the experience bearable for your child and to allow the dentist to complete the procedure safely.

What is the experience like for my child?

Of course, many patients are concerned about what the experience of sedation dentistry will be like for their children. A primary goal of sedation dentistry is to improve the patient experience.

With nitrous oxide, your child remains awake during their treatment. This mild sedative renders your child more relaxed, but they are still aware. They can feel numbness or tingling throughout different parts of their body and may feel lightheaded. They will still be able to follow simple instructions from the dentist.

With general anesthesia, your child will be unconscious during the procedure and won’t feel any pain. Their muscles will relax under anesthesia, allowing the dentist to complete the treatment. When they wake up, they’ll remember nothing from the procedure.

Pediatric Sedation Dentistry For Kids

If you’re concerned about how your child will fare during dental treatment, you can reach out to the best pediatric specialist in greater Nebraska area to find out about sedation dentistry options.

At My Pediatric Dental Specialists of Greater Nebraska, we provide top-notch pediatric care and specialize in treating children with special needs. You can contact us today to schedule a consultation.