The Ins and Outs of Sedation Dentistry for Kids

By March 1, 2019 March 5th, 2019 Kids Dentistry

It’s normal for kiddos to feel scared or anxious about going to the dentist (even adults feel that way sometimes!). It’s often just because they don’t really know what to expect or they’re afraid it will hurt. When you come in to Kids Mile High to see a Stapleton or Englewood pediatric dentist Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger, you can be rest assured they’ve received extensive training and have experience in helping even the most apprehensive patients feel comfortable and safe. Before we consider sedation dentistry for kids or anesthesia, we attempt behavior management techniques like positive reinforcement and tell-show-do where we get patients used to the sights and sounds of our tools to alleviate anxiety. Yet, there are times when dental sedation is the safest route.

What is Sedation Dentistry?

Sedation dentistry means using medication to make a patient very calm and comfortable during a dental treatment. While we’ll get into more detail on the different types, sedation dentistry for kids can range from something mild like nitrous oxide, which dulls pain and makes kids feel relaxed and happy, to general anesthesia, which entails them being in a deep sleep for the procedure.

When is Sedation Dentistry Used for Kids?

As we said before, in most cases, we try behavior management techniques before opting for dental sedation. However, there are cases when sedation dentistry is the best approach, such as with:

  • Very young patients who need extensive dental work
  • Patients with certain special health care needs, especially if multiple procedures are being performed
  • Kids who have an extremely strong gag reflex or cannot sit still to the point where their safety would be compromised
  • Children with severe dental anxiety, such as a case of having a true dental phobia

What are the Different Types of Dental Sedation?

At Kids Mile High, we offer the following types of sedation dentistry for children:

  • Nitrous Oxide – Nitrous oxide, sometimes called “laughing gas” or “happy gas,” is a colorless gas that’s mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a mask. It’s a mild sedative that makes kiddos feel extremely relaxed, “floaty,” euphoric and probably a little silly. Sounds like they’ll fit right in at Kids Mile, huh? It has the added benefit of reducing pain and discomfort. While patients can sometimes feel drowsy once the nitrous oxide starts working, they’ll be awake and conscious. So is nitrous oxide safe for kids? Yes. It’s been used for many years in dentistry and has minimal side effects. When we’re finished with the procedure, your child will breathe in pure oxygen for a few minutes to clear out any lingering nitrous oxide. They’ll feel back to normal quickly and can resume their regular activities almost immediately.
  • Oral Conscious Sedation – Oral conscious sedation offers moderate sedation so it’s a little stronger than nitrous oxide. Your child will take an oral medication before their procedure. It typically takes effect in about 20 minutes. The medication will make your child relaxed and drowsy, though they’ll still be conscious. It also dulls the senses to help alleviate discomfort. A lot of patients don’t remember the details of the procedure or the sensations clearly after it wears off.
  • In-Office General Anesthesia – With general anesthesia, your little one will be in a deep sleep and won’t feel or remember a thing. We have a special anesthesia suite so we can offer it in our office. An anesthesiologist will administer the anesthesia and monitor your child while Dr. Paddy or Dr. Roger work on their smile.

Is Dental Sedation Safe for Children?

Yes, dental sedation is safe for children as long as it’s administered by a professional. As pediatric dentists, Dr. Paddy and Dr. Roger are trained in sedation and can safely and effectively offer nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. We also provide in-office general anesthesia and have anesthesiologists from CarePoint Anesthesia come in and work with us to ensure it’s safe for patients. As with any procedure or medication, there are sedation dentistry risks. However, we take every step necessary to manage them and we always weigh the risks versus the benefits. We will perform a thorough evaluation of your child and get a comprehensive health history so we can determine if sedation is the safest and best choice for their individual needs.

If you’re looking for dentistry for kids in Englewood, Stapleton or, soon, Thornton, CO, look no further than Kids Mile High! If you do want to consider sedation dentistry for your child, we’ll evaluate your little one, go over the benefits and risks and answer all of your questions so you feel informed and confident in your decision. Schedule your child’s appointment today to learn more.

 

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