How Sedation Dentistry Works For Children

Sedation dentistry is a form of dentistry where the patient is sedated to some degree in order to help them make it through their dental procedure. Here is how sedation dentistry works for children.

When Sedation Is Used On Children

There are a few different circumstances under which sedation dentistry is used and recommended for children.

First, it is used for children who experience extreme anxiety when they visit the dentist or go to the doctor. Sedation is used to help them relax and deal with the treatment that they are receiving.

Second, it is used when an extremely young child needs to have a procedure performed that requires a high degree of precision. Sedation dentistry can help the young child remain still long enough for their dentist to complete the procedure.

Third, sedation dentistry is sometimes used with children who have special needs and experience involuntary movements or have difficultly controlling their emotions. Sedation dentistry can help them control their body movements or control their emotions so the dentist can perform whatever dental procedure is necessary.

The Type Of Sedation Used

The type of sedation that the dentist uses on a child depends on their medical history, reasons for needed sedation, and the length of the procedure.

  • Oral Sedation: Oral sedation can come in either pill, tablet or liquid form; the form used depends on if the child is capable or swallowing or chewing a pill or tablet, or is more comfortable taking liquid medication. This type of sedation is used for children who are really anxious or who are not able to control how their muscles react for longer periods of time. It makes one feel drowsy.
  • Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is more commonly known as laughing gas. Generally, a mask that contains both nitrous oxide and oxygen is placed over your child's face, and they are asked to breathe in and out a few times for the delivery of this form of sedation. This form of sedation is generally used for children who are either really anxious or nervous about getting dental work done. It helps one relax and produces a feeling of happiness. It also kicks in really quickly and wears off quickly as well.
  • General Anesthetic: General anesthetic is the rarest form of sedation used on children because it puts one into a deep sleep. It is generally only used on children if they need a lengthy and complex treatment performed, such as oral surgery. It is sometimes also used if a child has a condition that prohibits them from having dental work performed safely without it.

Dentists always try to use conscious sedation first with children; general anesthetic is used as a last resort or only when necessary for complex procedures and situations.

If you think your child could benefit from sedation dentistry, discuss this option with your child's dentist, and be prepared with your child's complete medical history.  Talk to a dental professional like McMillin Jeff DDS to learn more.