What Is Sedation Dentistry For Children?

Being nervous to go to the dentist is quite common among adults and children both. When you are a child, many things can exacerbate those nervous tendencies as well. Ensuring their patient is calm and comfortable is very important to your child’s dentist, and as a parent you have a few options to help your child stay comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.

Sedation dentistry’s whole aim is to make sure your child’s visit to the dentist goes well and that they don’t carry any dental-induced anxiety with them into adulthood. This article will answer questions you may have about sedation dentistry for your child and what the benefits are of using it for their visit. 

What Is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry is a mild sedation technique your dentist can use to manage the anxiety young patients are prone to experiencing when they get in the dentist’s chair. These sedation methods help reduce that fear that could make the visit very stressful for your child and yourself. This is great for younger children who can’t sit still and are easily distracted too. It is also recommended for children who may have special needs who move involuntarily or cannot control their movement well. Sedation dentistry has many practical applications when it comes to keeping children comfortable in the dentist’s office. 

What are the most common types of sedation?

Most pediatric dentists will have a few sedation options to choose from and each has its own set of specific benefits. Your dentist will first look at your child’s medical history, how long the child needs to be in the chair, if they are anxious and if they can’t sit still for very long to determine which is best suited for their needs.

Types of sedation:

  • Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a safe and mild sedative that can help your child remain relaxed during their visit to the dentist. Great for nervousness or anxiety. Your child will put on a “space mask” that has a mixture of oxygen and the sedative in it. It takes about 5 minutes for the gas to work and your child will remain awake the whole time feeling a sense of calm while their teeth are worked on. After the dentist is done, the effect wears off in a matter of minutes.
  • Oral sedatives or nasal sprays may also be used for nervousness and anxiety. This type of sedation can make the child a little drowsy and will keep them relaxed throughout their appointment. The medicine will start to work in about 20 minutes and will wear off gradually after the appointment. 
  • IV sedation is a sedation technique that requires an IV be put into the arm or hand. This method is used a lot when the procedure may take longer than a normal appointment, as the dentist can steadily use the medicine throughout the entire procedure. There will be some home directions from your dentist for this type of sedation method.

Is General Anesthesia Or Sedation Medicine Better?

General anesthesia in a dentist office is the same type that is used at hospitals for surgery: the patient is unconscious from both IV and gas sedatives putting them to sleep. An endotracheal tube is inserted to aid with breathing. General anesthesia comes with a lot of extra risks, preparations and steps as well as a longer recovery time. While it is necessary in some instances, modern dentists prefer sedation dentistry whenever possible to limit complications and to help with a faster recovery. 

Other Details About Sedation Dentistry:

  • There are up to five levels of sedation intensity, from light relaxation to deep sleep.
  • Light sedation has been known to be a great therapeutic tool to help kids get over their dental anxiety. 
  • Sedation does not help with pain, just anxiety and nervousness.
  • Make sure you stay positive around your children when it comes time to go to the dentist. The time leading up to the appointment is very important to keep them calm and stress free.

While some parents may be a little hesitant to do any sort of sedation for their children, remember sedation dentistry is a safe and very effective way to help not only get your child through their dental appointment but it can also help them not fear the dentist or future oral care. With trips becoming more of an errand than a traumatic trip, the use of sedation dentistry has parents everywhere relaxing as well. 

Does Your Child Experience Dental Anxiety?

At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we understand that every child has unique needs and may get nervous about their dentist visits. For that reason, we offer parents the option of treatment sedation to ensure sure your child has the most comfortable experience possible. We take pride in creating and maintaining beautiful and healthy smiles for our younger patients in an environment that is lighthearted and fun. 

Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry does not offer IV sedation, but can connect families to oral surgeons who do in cases where it is necessary for a treatment or procedure.

Whether your child needs primary, preventative, restorative or surgical dental care, our skilled and compassionate team are here for your children. Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry takes pride in providing the best dental care for children in Ross County and its surrounding areas. Call our offices to speak with one of our helpful staff members and book an appointment today!