Sedation dentistry helps young children receive dental treatment who otherwise would not be able to cooperate or complete it. There are different options for sedation dentistry that can be used to help apprehensive children relax and allow your dentist to restore their mouth to a healthy state. After an initial examination, your dentist will discuss the different options if they are needed.
If a child is worried by the sights, sounds, or sensations of dental treatment, they may respond more positively with the use of nitrous oxide/oxygen. Nitrous oxide/oxygen can reduce anxiety and gagging in children and make appointments easier. The child remains fully conscious during treatment. Recovery after treatment is rapid and complete. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is not effective for children, who are congested, will not breathe through their nose, or allow the nasal hood to be place.
Conscious/oral sedation is a controlled, pharmacologically induced, minimally depressed level of consciousness that retains your child’s ability to maintain an open airway independently and continuously and respond appropriately to physical stimulation and/or verbal command. Your child is completely relaxed but able to respond to stimuli.
General anesthesia is an induced state of unconsciousness. The patient is asleep and does not respond to touch or voices. It is most often recommended for very young children with extensive treatment needs and/or an inability to communicate and cooperate. Sometimes it may also be the best way to provide treatment for children with special medical/developmental needs. All parents should know that children face the same risks of general anesthesia for dental treatment as for any other surgical procedure. Only highly qualified anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists in a hospital setting provide the anesthesia services. Parents should talk openly with the pediatric dental staff about the benefits and risks of this treatment.
Candidates for Sedation Dentistry Include:
- Children that have very extensive dental needs
- The very apprehensive child
- Children that have a very strong gag reflex
- Children that have had traumatic dental experiences
- Children that do not like the sounds and smells associated with dental care
- The medically compromised child
- The mentally handicapped child