Sedation dentistry is a dream come true for dentist-phobic children and their parents. Sedation dentistry is a safe practice that uses medication to calm a patient, adult, or child, during a dental procedure. Every dentist who performs sedation dentistry is trained in it and can calculate the exact dose for your child. There are three kinds of dental sedation, and while the procedure may be expensive, many parents believe it’s completely worth it.
Types of Sedation Dentistry
There are four types or “levels” of sedation dentistry. What a child gets depends on the type of dental procedure he or she needs, particularly how long it will take, and how much pain the child is already experiencing.
Inhaled minimal sedation is the most common type of sedation for dental procedures. The patients breathe a combination of nitrous oxide and oxygen, which helps them relax. This method is very safe and can be continually fine-tuned, depending on how they react. It also wears off extremely quickly. This is the most likely choice for children, though in rare cases, other methods may be used.
Oral sedation is the next step up and can range from mild to moderate. This involves taking a pill and waiting for relaxing effects to kick in. Taking a pill is not always easy for children, which makes this method more unpopular.
IV Sedation is an adjustable form of sedation that typically produces heavier unconsciousness. Dentists may opt for it for longer procedures if either of the other two methods above has drawbacks or are otherwise seen to be less effective.
General anesthesia is where the child is rendered unconscious for the duration of the procedure. It’s extremely uncommon. If it is necessary by some means, however, even general anesthesia is safe for children, albeit with more risks than the other methods.
Why Choose Sedation Dentistry
Sedation dentistry is an excellent choice if your child already suffers from intense fear of the dentist or a fear of pain. While standard numbing should prevent your child from experiencing pain during any dental procedure, the fear of pain can be as challenging to experience as the pain itself.
Sedation dentistry allows your child to remain calm during the procedure. It also (assuming the child stays awake) provides some context to his or her fears. Over time, children can unlearn their fear of the dentist and sedation dentistry may no longer be necessary.
Sedation dentistry is also popular with children who are too young to follow directions. A toddler who needs to sit still for a long procedure may not be able to, and reasoning with the child may not be effective. Helping them relax or feel sleepy is a great alternative to dragging the procedure out longer, and could help avoid an experience that could be a basis for future fears of the dentist.
Sedation dentistry is safe for children. Sedation dentists train for it; together you can help your child learn that the dentist isn’t all bad. Whether mild or advanced, your sedation dentist can find the best solution for your child.