Is Sedation Right For Your Child's Dental Procedures?

Just like adults, children can be fearful and anxious about having dental procedures performed. To help ensure that the child is conformable, quiet, and still during certain procedures, the dentist might suggest the use of sedation. There are several choices available, so read on for a listing of the common forms of sedation that might be used on your child – from the lowest to the highest level.

Is sedation safe and necessary? – In most instances, sedation dentistry is safe for people of all ages, including children. With some of the deeper sedation methods, a trained anesthesiologist should be present for the procedure. Be sure you understand how to deal with any after-effects or side effects and monitor your child closely for problems after receiving sedation at the dentist. Many times, sedation is a must for pain control during dental procedures. The level of sedation should correspond to both the procedure and to the child. For example, children with behavioral or physical issues may have a difficult time remaining still for a dental procedure, so sedation might be necessary even for minor procedures. Overall, sedation provides your child with a more pleasant dental experience, which can continue to influence their dental health in the future.

Laughing GasNitrous oxide is not technically a form of sedation since it doesn't actually put your child to sleep. It does have a calming effect on nervous children, however, and often provides enough of an effect to allow the dentist to get the work performed on a relaxed child instead of a fidgeting child. Nitrous oxide is inhaled through the mouth and nose using a mask and the active substance is mixed with oxygen. One of the main benefits of using nitrous oxide is that the effects wear off almost immediately afterward.

Relaxation Sedation – If your child is anxious, a mild sedative administered just prior to a procedure can help the child relax and perhaps take a nap. The child is still awake and can respond and the sedation doesn't affect their cardiovascular or respiratory systems. The child may not remember the procedure afterward. You can expect them to exhibit some coordination and mobility issues for a brief period of time.

Deep Sedation – Intravenous drugs are used to bring about full sleep for your child. A nurse anesthesiologist usually administers and monitors the child during the procedure. This form of sedation may take some time to fully wear off.

You are right to be concerned about using sedation on your child for dental procedures. Speak to your dentist and only agree to the procedure when your fears are addressed and your questions are answered. Contact a dental service for more help.