If your child has extreme anxiety over dental visits, you may be wondering if sedation dentistry is an option. There are many sedation methods that are safe for children who are in good health. In fact, sedation can be necessary if a child is so uncooperative that they are affecting the efficacy of the procedure. Your children's dental specialist can recommend the right sedation method for your child's needs. Read on to learn more about sedation dentistry and what to expect before and after an appointment.
What Types of Sedation Methods are Available to Children?
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a preferred sedation method because it wears off in just a few minutes after a patient stops inhaling it. Nitrous oxide can help an anxious child relax and it doesn't require full sedation. Oral sedation with liquid or pill sedatives is also an option. Your dentist may instruct you to give the medication to your child at a specified time before the procedure. Lastly, if deeper sedation is preferred, IV sedation can be a good option for children when administered by a qualified anesthetist. Patients under oral medications and IV sedation may be able to fall asleep, but they can still respond to questions when prompted.
Which is Right for Your Child?
Your dentist can recommend the right sedation method depending on your child's behavior, health history, and the type of procedure needed. For example, minor dental work, such as fillings, will typically work well with nitrous oxide. Oral medications can be used for minor and more intensive procedures. If your child has a fear of needles or doesn't like the nitrous oxide mask, then oral medications could be the way to go. IV sedation may be used for oral surgeries, such as tooth extractions. IV sedation can be a safe and effective way to control the behavior of uncooperative kids who need comprehensive dental work.
What Should You Expect Before and After the Sedation Dental Appointments?
Before the dental appointment, you should avoid giving your child solid foods before sedation. Your child should be dressed in loose-fitting comfortable clothing. You'll need to tell the dentist about any medications—both prescription and over-the-counter drugs—that your child is taking. It may be helpful to explain the procedure to your child so that they will know what to expect. Your child may also want to bring a blanket or a favorite toy for comfort.
After your child is done with his or her appointment, they may be nauseous and groggy. You may need to support them to the car. Your dentist should give you after-care instructions so that you can properly monitor your child after treatment. Your child should stay hydrated, and they may need to eat soft foods, smoothies, or mashed veggies to avoid any discomfort in the mouth.
Reach out to a local dental clinic for more details about sedation dentistry, like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents.