Going to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience for anybody regardless of your age. However, it can be particularly scary for young children who are nervous about having someone inspect and clean their teeth for the first time or if there is a particularly complex procedure required. Luckily, there are various sedation dentistry techniques available to help anyone relax in the dentist’s chair, even children. From laughing gas to more potent anesthesia, several options are available, and the best one for you will depend on the exact procedure being performed and your level of anxiety.
Nitrous oxide, more colloquially known as laughing gas, is the mildest form of sedation. A mask will be placed over your child’s nose, and he or she will be asked to breathe deeply. The effects start taking place right away, and the patient becomes more at ease. Children remain awake while feeling less stressed out. At the end of the procedure, the effects of the gas dissipate fairly quickly.
Depending on the extent of the upcoming procedure, a dentist may suggest taking medicine orally in order for your child to fall asleep. Although the child will be asleep for the duration of the treatment, he or she should be easily awoken if need be. Your dentist will advise you if your child should drink or eat before the visit and what to do following the procedure.
Many children are not necessarily fans of getting shots, but sometimes the best way to deliver the sedative or numbing agent like Novocain is through an injection. A dentist should only recommend this form of sedation if he or she is skilled in delivering it. You may be referred to a more specialized pediatric sedation dentist if more extensive sedation methods are essential.
The strongest form of sedation that children can receive is general anesthesia. This is when the patient is made completely unconscious or a twilight state for the treatment. This sedation technique is only recommended if the procedure is going to be particularly long, if extensive oral surgery needs to be performed or if other sedatives have not worked in the past. Anesthesia should only be administered by a professional anesthesiologist or a doctor trained in sedation dentistry for children. Your child will need to be monitored following the treatment to ensure that a full recovery is made and they return to normal behavior without complications like nausea or prolonged lethargy.
Your dentist will take numerous factors into consideration in order to reach a conclusion regarding which technique is best. Laughing gas for kids is popular, but sometimes stronger methods are needed. Talk to your pediatric sedation dentist about what is best for your child and make sure to ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel confident about the procedure.