Kids’ Sedation Dentistry, Its Benefits, and Its Uses

You may have heard of sedation dentistry for kids and want to know more. For some children, sedation dentistry may make them feel more comfortable during a complex procedure. It can also be good for special needs or overly-anxious children. Keep reading to learn more about kids' sedation dentistry and if your child may benefit from it.

How Does Kids' Sedation Dentistry Work?

Kids' sedation dentistry works to use medications to calm your child and make them feel more comfortable. Many dentists start with nitrous oxide and may use additional medications. Nitrous oxide has the benefit of wearing off quickly. Your dentist may also use:

  • Oral sedation medications, which may make your child feel drowsy.
  • Intravenous medications, which will cause a deeper stage of relaxation.
  • General anesthesia, which puts the child into unconsciousness.

With oral and intravenous medications, your child will be mostly awake or easily awakened but feel sleepy. General anesthesia is usually reserved for hospital settings and major surgery. In addition to sedation, your child will also receive pain medications.

What Are the Benefits of Kids' Sedation Dentistry?

Children with higher-than-average fears or who can't sit still are usually good candidates for sedation dentistry. Sedation can help calm special needs children who can't control their movements or don't understand the situation. Dentists may use sedation for complex treatments like root canals or extractions.

How Can Parents Help Their Kids With Sedation?

Parents can help by keeping the child calm and comforted. Younger children may feel more comfortable if they can bring a familiar object from home. Older children may appreciate a simple explanation as to what to expect. Make sure you follow your dentist's instructions on when to stop eating and drinking the night before.

Which Kids Should Not Get Sedation?

For most children, sedation is safe and effective. Most children will not need deep sedation with anesthesia. However, some kids may have problems with the other medications or with nitrous oxide. If your child has chronic health problems, talk to your physician first. You may want your child to have a medical checkup before they have sedation dentistry.

If your child has a hard time visiting the dentist, a kids' sedation dentist may be an option. For most children, it's a safe way to lessen anxiety during the procedures. Your child will likely be more cooperative about visiting the dentist and miss fewer appointments. If you have questions or concerns about kids' sedation dentistry, talk to the dentist for more details.