What is Conscious Sedation, and is it Safe for My Child?

Conscious sedation may relieve a child's dental anxiety

Ease your child’s dental anxiety with conscious sedation.

If your child has extensive dental damage that needs to be addressed, dental anxiety can be quite the roadblock. The anxiety that young children can experience in anticipation of a dental procedure can make the entire process much more challenging for parents. When anxiety creates an issue, parents often decide not to push the envelope with their child. But when it comes to your child’s oral health, you can’t just skip out. Thankfully, conscious sedation can help make the dental procedure more comfortable for you and your child.

What is conscious sedation?

The term conscious sedation refers to a medical or dental procedure where a combination of medicines is used to help ease anxiety. Many parents confuse conscious sedation with general anesthesia, but it is essential to note the difference. With general anesthesia, you are put to sleep, and you will not feel pain during the procedure. With conscious sedation, your child will also not feel any pain during the procedure, but they will remain awake.

Conscious sedation helps your child to feel more relaxed and cooperative. In turn, conscious sedation allows Dr. Ben and the team at Pediatric Dental Specialists to complete your child’s procedure more quickly and with less effort. Further, since your child is awake, they will follow directions and communicate with Dr. Ben as needed.

What types of sedation are there?

Not all methods of sedation are the same. At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we offer two different types of sedation dentistry specifically for kids: conscious sedation and unconscious sedation. And, we offer two forms of conscious sedation for our young patients: nitrous oxide and oral sedation.

As we mentioned earlier, conscious sedation dentistry allows patients to stay awake during their dental procedure. Nitrous oxide (commonly referred to as laughing gas) is a minimal form of sedation delivered through a nose mask. When Dr. Ben decides to use nitrous oxide, your child will breathe as usual and experience a calming effect. On the other hand, oral sedation has a more substantial impact and comes in liquid or a capsule medicine. This medicine will make your child feel very deeply relaxed, if not sleepy. When oral sedation is used, your child may still feel the effects for a while after their appointment.

How safe is conscious sedation for my child?

It is important to note that there is always a risk with conscious sedation; however, the focus is on the need to help your child receive the dental care they require. Low-stress dental appointments are a win-win-win for the patient, parent, and pediatric dentist. However, the right dentist creates a controlled environment, which presents the least risk for your child.

Parents can help by providing their child’s complete medical history and a list of current medications, any drug interactions or allergies, and so on, to lessen the risk of complications caused by conscious sedation. Open communication between parent or guardian, child, and your pediatric dentist will also help create the safest environment possible.

It is important to note, too, that nitrous oxide wears off in about five minutes. Oral and IV medications given for general anesthesia and other forms of sedation can last for several hours and may remain in your child’s system for 24 hours. Regardless of the type of sedation selected for your child, it is crucial to monitor your child’s activity and behavior for the next day or so.

You know your child best.

When it comes to planning for a dental procedure for your child, parents know their children best. For this reason, Dr. Ben and the Pediatric Dental Specialists team will partner with parents and guardians to agree on the best possible course of action to help minimize your child’s dental anxiety and make the dental procedure as comfortable as possible.

We’ll help you understand the facts about sedation dentistry for kids by answering any questions that you might have. The Pediatric Dental Specialists team specializes in dentistry for children, and we’ve been down this path with kids many times before. We’re happy to share our experiences and suggestions so that you, the parent, can make the best possible decision for your child.

Let the Pediatric Dental Specialists team help create a comfortable dental experience for you and your child.

Whether your child needs treatment for extensive dental damage or requires a dental cleaning or oral assessment, the Pediatric Dental Specialists team can help. Dr. Ben trained at the UNMC College of Dentistry, graduating in 2018. He then went on to further his dental education at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha by completing a two-year pediatric residency, where he gained his specialization in treating infants through the age of adolescence as well as children with special health care needs. Dr. Ben is trained in all of the latest techniques in child dentistry and is a safe pair of hands to guide your child’s oral health. We look forward to working with you to create the most comfortable and relaxed experience for your child. Schedule your appointment today.