Sedation Dentistry for Kids: Reduce Fear of the Dentist
If your child is afraid of visiting the dentist, getting them in for regular visits can feel like a huge chore. But dental care is incredibly important for maintaining your child’s health and happiness. Since dental anxiety is so common, pediatric dentists have taken steps to eliminate that fear.
One of these methods is toddler sedation dentistry. During a sedation dentistry procedure, your child will be relaxed or put to sleep through the use of sedatives, so they won’t feel or remember anything during their procedure.
What Is Sedation Dentistry for Kids?
Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry for children, is any dental procedure where your child receives a sedative medication to help them relax or put them to sleep. It’s a great option for children with anxiety, with special needs, or who have trouble staying still for the duration of their procedure.
To understand how sedation dentistry works, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of sedation available. Your child’s dentist will determine the best type of sedation to use based on both the patient and the procedure. Children who only have mild fears of the dentist may only need mild sedation, whereas a child with more intense fear can benefit from deep sedation.
What Kinds of Sedation Are Used?
There are four levels of toddler sedation dentistry:
- minimal sedation
- moderate sedation
- deep sedation
- general anesthesia
With minimal sedation, the patient feels completely relaxed but remains awake. With moderate sedation, the patient won’t have very much memory of the procedure but they remain awake. With deep sedation, the patient is asleep but not unconscious. With general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious and asleep for the entire duration of the procedure.
On top of the different levels of sedation, your child’s dentist may use different kinds of sedatives during sedation dentistry for kids.
- An inhaled sedative such as laughing gas is the most common type of sedation used in sleep dentistry for children. It’s a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, and it provides the mildest sedative effect.
- Oral sedation uses a medication called Halcion. Your child takes the medication an hour before the procedure. Depending on the strength of the dose, oral sedation can produce a mild or moderate sedative effect.
- IV sedation is administered intravenously and provides a moderate level of sedation. Due to the administration method, it works more quickly than oral sedation.
- Both deep sedation and general anesthesia are administered to your child via an inhaled solution. Your child will have no memory of the procedure if either of these sedatives are used.
Is Toddler Sedation Dentistry Safe?
The safety of your child is exceptionally important, and that holds true in sleep dentistry for children. When performed by an experienced dentist like the ones at Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, sedation dentistry for kids is completely safe.
Before your child undergoes any type of sedation, their dentist will perform a thorough review of their medical history and current medications. It’s important to tell your child’s dentist about any allergies or medications since these can affect sedation. During sedation procedures, the staff will monitor your child extensively to make sure that the procedure goes flawlessly.
How Does Sedation Dentistry for Kids Work?
Before your child undergoes sedation, there are several steps that parents can take to help make the procedure go smoothly. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children handle dental procedures and sedation better if their parents explain the process. Do your best to answer any questions that your child will have.
Your child’s dentist will likely give you instructions about restricting food or drink before your child starts their sleep dentistry procedure. Make sure that your child follows those instructions. It’s also important to provide the dentist with your child’s full medical history and current medications to make sure that the dentist administers the proper type and level of sedation.
When you arrive at the dentist’s office for toddler sedation dentistry, parents can help keep their children calm with encouraging words. Ask the dentist beforehand if your child can bring a blanket or stuffed animal to help comfort them. You may also hold your child’s hand to keep them calm.
After sedation dentistry for kids, your child may be confused, groggy, or nauseous, so having a parent there can help comfort them. If possible, two adults should transport the child home. One adult should drive, and the other should monitor the child’s breathing.
After sedation, your child may experience side effects including loss of physical coordination, dizziness, sleepiness, or nausea, so don’t make any plans for after the procedure. Take your child home to rest. For the first few hours after experiencing sleep dentistry for children, your child should only have soft foods.
There are several signs that you should look out for that may indicate a serious reaction. If your child experiences vomiting, severe pain, severe bleeding, or fever, contact your child’s dentist immediately for further assistance.
Starting the Process for Your Child
Now that you know how toddler sedation dentistry works, it’s time to make an appointment for your child. Sedation dentistry can be an effective way to ensure that even the most anxious child is still getting the top-notch dental care that they need. Sedation is ideal for kids who are afraid of the dentist, dentistry for children with special needs, or for young children who have trouble staying still.
The dentists at Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental will take all precautions to make sure that your child’s dental experience goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today to set up an appointment.