Sedation for Children

Sedation Dentistry for ChildrenFor some children, a trip to the dentist’s office is a fearful and anxious experience. This causes a great amount of stress to the child – and to you as the parent. Additionally, the child may be unable to sit still in the dental chair, making it difficult to perform any type of procedure.

In these cases, your child may benefit from sedation dentistry, a medical procedure that involves administering a sedative to calm your child down prior to dental treatment. This is especially helpful if your child has special needs or will require an extensive or long-term dental procedure.

What types of sedation are available for your child? And how can you make a good decision?

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide is a colorless gas with a slightly sweet odor and taste that has been safely used in medicine for over a century. It’s also called “laughing gas” because of the feeling of well-being it produces in patients. It helps ease your child’s fears so he or she can relax and receive treatment comfortably.

The dentist or dental assistant will place a mask over your child’s nose that administers nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen. After a few minutes, the child might start to feel that he or she is floating, or experience a tingling sensation in the hands and feet. Fear and anxiety slowly fade away.

However, nitrous oxide isn’t for all children. They may refuse wearing the mask, or the gas may make them feel nauseous. Also, if your child has trouble breathing through the nose, this method is not so effective.

Oral Sedatives

If your child experiences a higher level of anxiety, your dentist may recommend oral sedation.

After taking an oral sedative, your child will feel sleepy but can still respond to simple requests. If your child is scheduled to receive oral sedation, the dentist will give you specific instructions including what the child may eat or drink prior to the procedure, and what to expect afterwards.

Your child may need to remain in our office a short time after treatment for observation, and may not be up to walking for an hour or so. In some children, minor side effects like nausea or vomiting may occur.

Other Methods

Conscious sedation for children may also be administered through the following methods:

  • Suppository
  • Injection
  • Intravenous application (through a vein)

At times, a child must be unconscious for the dentist to safely perform a needed dental treatment. In these cases, general anesthesia is recommended. General anesthesia will place your child into a deep sleep, where he or she is unable to move or feel pain.

General anesthesia may be recommended in cases of:

  • Oral surgery
  • Extensive dental work that is best performed in a single, long session
  • A child who suffers from a severely limiting disability
  • A child who needs dental work, but is unresponsive to conscious sedation methods

If your dentist believes your child would benefit from any of these alternative methods of sedation, he or she will fully discuss the advantages, disadvantages and risks to help you make an informed decision.

Don’t Delay

If you’ve been avoiding the thought of taking your child to the dentist because of his or her fear and anxiety, please call us at the Yuba City Dentistry Group today. Sedation dentistry could provide the help you need, and prove to be the key to maintaining your child’s oral health.
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