While it’s very important to make sure that your child gets proper dental care, not all children are cooperative when it comes to dental visits. For children with a fear of the dentist, even the most simple procedures become very challenging. Dental anxiety is very common, and there are ways to help children with this condition. At Children’s Dentistry, we offer pediatric sedation dentistry to help patients with anxiety get the care they need. Here are some of the benefits of sedation dentistry for children with anxiety.
Sedation Dentistry for Anxiety
Put simply, sedation dentistry is any dental procedure where your child receives sedative medications. Depending on the procedure, your child can receive mild to deep sedative medications that will help them relax or put them to sleep. One of the major benefits of sedation dentistry is that it allows children with dental anxiety to undergo procedures that they would otherwise be too nervous to sit through. With sedation dentistry, your child can get the essential dental care they need without the fear.
Your child’s dentist will work with you to determine the best type of sedation. They’ll consider both the type of procedure and your child’s particular anxiety levels in addition to their medical history.
Types of Sedation
There are four levels available during sleep dentistry: minimal sedation, moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia. With minimal sedation, your child will be awake during the procedure but will feel completely relaxed. With moderate sedation, your child is still awake, but they won’t remember most of the procedure.
With deep sedation, your child is asleep but not quite unconscious. With general anesthesia, your child is completely unconscious and asleep for the whole procedure. If your child’s fear of the dentist is on the mild side, the dentist can opt for minimal sedation. For children with intense dental anxiety, deeper sedation levels will likely be beneficial.
In addition to different levels of sedation, there are also different kinds of sedatives used during sedation dentistry:
- Inhaled sedation produces the most mild sedative effect. Your child will inhale nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas) combined with oxygen.
- Oral sedation is administered to your child via a medication called Halcion. They’ll take the medication an hour before the procedure. Oral sedation can produce a mild or moderate sedation depending on the dose. A lower dose will make your child drowsy but keep them conscious and relaxed. With a higher dose, your child will be asleep but easily awakened with a light touch.
- IV sedation provides a moderate level of sedation. This type of sedative is administered to your child intravenously and thus works much more quickly than oral sedation.
- Deep sedation and general anesthesia are administered via an inhaled solution. Both of these types of sedatives leave your child will no memory of the procedure.
A Pain-Free Experience
Often, children with a fear of the dentist are anticipating that the procedure will hurt. The benefits of sedation dentistry are that it creates a pain-free experience for your child. During some dental procedures, anesthetic injections are administered to prevent pain. With sedation dentistry, those injections are still given, but they’re done after the sedation has been administered. This is particularly good news if your child has a fear of needles.
With sedation dentistry, your child will be relaxed or asleep, and they won’t feel any of the pain or discomfort that they may associate with the dentist. In fact, they’ll wake up with little to no memory of the procedure. After a pain-free dental visit, your child will be less likely to have the same level of anxiety upon their next visit.
Better Treatment Quality
In addition to being pain free, one of the benefits of sedation dentistry is that it allows for better treatment quality. When a patient is sedated, the dentist can work more quickly and effectively without worrying about your child moving around. Without sedation, some children may react reflexively to pain or discomfort, and this can be challenging for the dentist.
Young children may have trouble sitting still through the entire duration of a procedure, especially lengthy ones. With sedation dentistry, the dentist can work uninterrupted, ensuring that your child’s procedure goes smoothly.
Helps Prevent Further Anxiety
Dental anxiety is incredibly common, with as many as 75% of Americans reporting some level of dental anxiety. The majority of dental anxiety sufferers report that their fear stems from a traumatic experience at the dentist — they had a procedure that was particularly painful or scary, and now they want to avoid the dentist altogether. Other patients simply dislike that they can feel the dentist drilling during certain procedures.
The benefits of sedation dentistry mean that your child can avoid any potentially traumatic experiences. Since your child will be asleep during procedures, they won’t feel any pain or discomfort. Generally, sedation dentistry leaves your child with little to no memory of the procedure, which means that they certainly won’t have a bad memory of the dentist. Sedation dentistry can help prevent your child’s anxiety from worsening. In fact, their anxiety may improve over time as they learn to associate the dentist with a relaxed, pain-free experience.
Making sure that your child gets the dental care they need is an important role for every parent. If you have children with a fear of the dentist, you understand just how challenging it can be to make sure that your child visits the dentist every 6 months. Luckily, the benefits of sedation dentistry can help make your child’s dental procedures go much smoother. Our ability to safely and effectively provide sedation dentistry is why we are one of the best pediatric dentists in Las Vegas. To learn more about sedation dentistry or to make an appointment, contact us today.