Is Sedation Dentistry Safe for my Child?
Sedation Dentistry is the use of medical drugs that will calm nervousness and anxiety in children. Dentists may recommend sedation when a child is extremely anxious or if a child must undergo multiple procedures, such as fillings, at one time. If your child has a strong gag-reflex, then sedation may be beneficial when he or she must undergo dental procedures. Medication that is administered for sedation is not intended to reduce pain in children, pain medication is usually administered after the sedation has occurred. This will ensure children do not experience any pain after the procedure. Typically, sedation medication can have effects lasting several hours after the completion of the procedure. Sedation is a safe way to ease your child from tension that can come from dental procedures. The dentist will monitor children during the entire procedure to ensure their safety.
Children will undergo a physical exam prior to receiving any form of sedation. This will ensure that children do not have any unknown medial conditions that could cause harm from the medication. Dentists will not perform a procedure that requires sedation if children are sick the day of the appointment, so it is important for parents to inform dentists if their child is not well prior to the procedure.
There are numerous types of sedation dentistry methods that dentists offer for children. Conscious sedation does not put children to sleep, so they are still able to communicate with the dentist. Conscious sedation also allows children to feel more relaxed throughout the procedure.
Nitrous Oxide, also referred to as laughing gas, is combined with oxygen and administered through a breathing mask. When the nitrous oxide starts to kick-in, children will feel relaxed throughout the procedure. This type of sedation is often used on children who do not display sever anxiety, but only have mild to moderate nervousness. Nitrous oxide is very safe and does not last long. The child is awake and will be able to communicate with the dentist.
There are times when children do not need to be awake during a dental procedure. General anesthesia is used when children need to be unconscious during treatment. Children will remain completely still, and will not be able to communicate at all during the procedure. If there is concern that the procedure will not be able to be performed safely due to nervousness or anxiousness, then a dentist will recommend this form of sedation. There is a slight risk that can occur when children undergo general anesthesia, so it is crucial that the anesthesia is administered by a dental anesthesiologist or oral surgeon. Dental anesthesiologists and oral surgeons are specifically taught methods on how to properly administer general anesthesia, and they are also trained on how to handle any circumstances that may arise from the sedation.