|Sedation for Kids
At Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry, we are trained in a wide array of techniques that are designed to help your child feel more comfortable in the dental chair. What we speak with your child is a calm, upbeat voice, and avoid using words that can scare your child. We show them our tools and demonstrate what we are going to do before we do it, so your child is prepared. However, even with all of these techniques, some kids still experience anxiety and have trouble remaining calm. For these kids, sedation may be an appropriate option.
We do our best to provide your child with a friendly, comforting atmosphere, helping them to feel calm in our office. However, there are some children who are more anxious than others. Sedation and general anesthesia for kids is used to help keep these kids to relax during their dental procedures. Kids who are anxious may not be able to sit still. When we have to perform precision work, squirming puts your child in danger. With sedation, your child can remain still, greatly reducing the risk of injury. Sedation is also often used for children with special needs, helping to prevent spontaneous movements or other behavior that may interfere with dental treatment.
Nitrous oxide is a type of minimal, conscious, sedation. You most likely know this form of sedation by its other name: “laughing gas.” It is mixed with oxygen delivered through a mask, which is placed over your child’s nose. As your child breathes the gas in, it goes to work quickly. When their procedure is over, we will cut off the nitrous, providing them with just oxygen. This will help to ensure that the nitrous is completely removed from your child’s system. It only takes a few moments for the effects to wear off, and your child is back to their normal self.
For children who are quite anxious, uncooperative, or unable to sit still for long periods of time, we may recommend oral sedation. Oral sedation is a type of moderate conscious sedation that is delivered to your child through an oral medication. We may recommend that you limit your child’s food intake before their appointment, and make sure that they are wearing comfortable clothing. Once the medication goes to work, it will make your child drowsy, but they will most likely not fall asleep. The effects will take a while to wear off, so you may need to stay for a while after their appointment is over.
What About General Anesthesia?
If your child is exceptionally nervous or uncooperative (making safety a serious concern), needs a significant amount of dental work, or requires a surgical procedure, we may recommend general anesthesia. With general anesthesia, your child is put completely to sleep. Procedures done under general anesthesia are performed in a hospital setting. Your child will need more preparation before their appointment (such as no foods or liquids for several hours before), and the effects will linger, requiring more recovery afterward. We will recommend general anesthesia if we feel it is necessary.
If your child is too nervous to get their dental work done safely, call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141 to find out if sedation is right for them!