Sedation Dentistry for Kids
Safety is a parents' top consideration when it comes to their child receiving dental sedation. Dentists may recommend sedation for long, complex procedures and for patients who are especially young or nervous. Parents can help their child stay relaxed by being calm and encouraging. Try bringing along a comfort item for the child to hold, such as a favorite toy or stuffed animal. If possible, avoid bringing other children to the appointment so that you can focus your full attention on the child receiving care.
Types of sedation:
- Local anesthesia: Sometimes your dentist needs to numb a part of your child’s mouth. He or she injects medicine into their gum or inner cheek. This medicine is called local anesthesia. Lidocaine is the most common local anesthetic dentists’ use. If your child needs local anesthesia in order to have their dental treatment done, your dentist will dry part of their mouth with air or cotton. Many dentists then swab the area with a gel to numb the skin. Then, the dentist will slowly inject the local anesthetic. Most children don't feel the needle. Instead, the sting they feel is caused by the anesthetic moving into the tissue. An injection of local anesthesia can last up to several hours. After you leave the dentist's office, your child may find it difficult to speak clearly or eat. The sensation lasts a few hours with virtually no side effects.
- Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is also known as “laughing” gas. It is often used for children who are mildly or moderately anxious or nervous. It eases their fears so that they can relax, which helps them receive treatment in a comfortable and safe manner. Nitrous oxide is mixed with oxygen and delivered through a small mask over the nose. Your child will be asked to breathe through the nose and not through the mouth. As the gas begins to work, the child usually will become less agitated and nervous. The effects of nitrous oxide are mild. It is safe and quickly eliminated from the body. Your child remains awake and can continue to interact with the dentist. When the gas is turned off, the effects wear off very quickly. The dentist will give your child oxygen for a few minutes after treatment, which helps to flush the child's body of any remaining gas.
- Oral sedation: Children who are more anxious may need a stronger medicine than nitrous oxide. Several of these medicines are given by mouth (orally). When choosing a form of sedation, your dentist should consider your child's health. Oral sedation is taken as soon as the patient arrives at the appointment, as the medicine usually takes up to 20 minutes to work. Oral sedation doesn't put patients to sleep, but it helps them stay calm and relaxed. He or she can also respond to simple commands. Minor side effects such as nausea or vomiting can occur with some medicines. Before your child’s visit, the staff will provide you with instructions that could include whether your child should eat or drink before the procedure and what to watch for afterwards. Your dentist will discuss how your child will be monitored during sedation. You will need to stay for a short period of time after the dental treatment has been completed for observation purposes.
Call us today to discuss your sedation dentistry options. Our dentists at Children First Dental are here to make you and your child as comfortable as possible.