For Safety and Comfort, Some Parents Turn to Sedation Dentistry for Their Children. It’s understandable if your child is a little anxious about seeing the dentist. Many kids are, especially if they’re getting a tooth pulled or cavity filled. The good news is that for kids who need a little more relaxation at the dentist’s office, there’s sedation dentistry.
Just like it sounds, sedation dentistry is a medical technique used to make patients relaxed, and sometimes sleepy while they get their treatment. There are a few levels of sedation a qualified dentist can offer, depending on your child’s necessary procedure and anxiety level. They range from light sedation with an inhaled “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide) to taking a pill, to a deeper sedation where your child gets anesthesia intravenously. Not all pediatric dental practices offer sedation dentistry, and it’s not for all patients. It’s usually used during a treatment that produces anxiety for your child, and when it might be tough to safely complete the dental procedure without it. A small percentage of kids, however, get it for teeth cleaning if they have an intense anxiety about any type of dental visit. Of course the parent or guardian’s consent is needed for sedation dentistry, and often it’s the parent who asks about it first.
Dentists need additional training for sedation dentistry, and the training program must be accredited by the American Dental Association. The dentist must also be certified in basic life support for healthcare providers or carry advanced cardiac life support if they’re administering general anesthesia. While it can be scary to think about your child getting anesthesia, sedation dentistry is safe. Your dentist will go over your child’s health and medication use with you, to make sure the anesthesia would be appropriate for your child. Parents should ask any questions they have, including about the dentist’s experience level with sedation dentistry, what to expect before, during and after the procedure and how to prepare the child. The dentist you choose should be highly experienced with sedation dentistry. The certified dentists at Signature Smiles have performed more than 10,000 safe sedations on kids.To prepare your child for sedation dentistry, first ask the dental office for their recommendations. The office should provide you with written information as well as telling you what to expect. If your child will be getting nitrous oxide, the dental office may give you the inhalation mask for your child to try out at home, so it won’t seem foreign during the treatment. You should explain to your child what will happen or have the dentist talk to your child about it. You may need to limit your child’s food and liquids before the procedure, so make sure you know about that.
On the day of the treatment, your child should wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing, so it’s easier to monitor their vital signs. Your child can bring a blanket or stuffed animal to hold for comfort. And most dental offices encourage parents to stay in the room and sometimes even hold their hand or talk to them as they receive the sedation medication, so they’ll feel safer. If your child is nervous about visiting the dental office, giving them information about what to expect with sedation dentistry will make them feel in control and less nervous. The experienced staff members at Signature Smiles are always available to answer questions and put your child at ease.