Is Dental Sedation Safe for Your Children?

Is Dental Sedation Safe for Your Children?

Jan 25, 2022

It’s normal for adults and children to be anxious or fearful about dental procedures. It can be stressful to convince your child to go to the dentist and receive necessary dental care. Sedation dentistry makes the entire experience of visiting the dentist easy and comfortable for a child. Standard dental procedures where a dentist might use sedation include tooth extraction, treating cavities, and gum disease treatment.

One of the most common, comfortable, and safest options for pediatric dentistry is nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas. Since this sedation method is less invasive, it has few side effects. Before administering the sedation, the dentist reviews the child’s health and history. It’s worth noting that certain types of sedation can have side effects.

Types of Sedation

Below are the most common types of sedation used in pediatric dentistry:

  • Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a mild type of sedation used for both adults and children. Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas, mixed with a bit of oxygen for the child to breathe in. Your child won’t go to sleep and will be more relaxed. They might feel tingly, lightheaded, or experience a floating sensation. The level of sedation given depends on the procedure and how the child responds to the gas. Nitrous gas is a minor level of sedation and wears off within a few minutes with no residual effects.

  • Oral Sedatives

The pediatric dentist can also use oral sedation to keep your child relaxed and calm during dental procedures. The sedation is taken orally through the nose or by mouth. While the treatment can make you tired, your child will be awake. The sedation usually works within 20 minutes. The dentist will instruct you not to feed them for a few hours before the appointment.

  • IV sedation

Intravenous (IV) sedation is a deep level of sedation administrated through the child’s vein, mainly in the hand or arm. This type of sedation is typically used for dental procedures that might be painful. Like oral sedation, you will have a list of things you will need to do at home in preparation for this sedation.

  • General anesthesia

The child will be asleep throughout the procedure for this sedation and they won’t feel any pain. This sedation is necessary for extensive dental treatments and procedures. The child will have no memory of the procedure.

The levels of sedation dentistry include:

  • Mild sedation – It’s commonly used on adults or older children. The child is awake and calm and might respond to the dentist.
  • Moderate sedation – The child may feel sleepier but should respond to the dentist’s instructions under this sedation. Most children won’t remember anything about the procedure.
  • Deep sedation – helps the child relax and sleep through the procedure. A trained professional or anesthesiologist must monitor the child’s vitals, such as heart rhythm, rate, and blood pressure during the procedure. A breathing tube is necessary to help the child breathe properly.

If your child has a dental procedure, your dentist will discuss the sedation options with you so you can help prepare your child for the procedure.

Risks of Sedation

While sedation is necessary to keep your child relaxed and pain-free, side effects are possible. Mainly short-term side effects of sedation include nausea, vomiting, sweating, shivering, dizziness, or fatigue. Fortunately, these side effects are mild, reversible, and go away quickly. If your child experiences any unusual or long-term effects, contact your child’s pediatric dentist immediately.

To ensure that nothing goes wrong during and after the procedure, your dentist will give you detailed instructions that you must follow. These can include:

Before Sedation

  • Dress your child comfortably.
  • Make sure your child doesn’t eat if directed by the dentist and avoid solid foods before the appointment.
  • Notify your dentist if your child develops any problem before the appointment or takes any medication.

Aftercare instructions

Immediately after the procedure, it’s normal to experience nausea, loss of physical coordination, uncontrollable giggles, and grogginess. To care for your child:

  • Encourage your child to rest adequately.
  • Make sure your child hydrates well.
  • Feed them soft foods such as soups, mashed vegetables, or smoothies for the next few hours.
  • Take any medication as directed by the dentist.

Final Verdict

The bottom line is that sedation dental procedures among children is incredibly safe when administered correctly and with the proper home preparation. For more information about sedation dental practices, contact Andover Cosmetic Dental Group.

Our dentists in Andover, MA also welcome patients from the below nearby areas:

  • North Andover
  • Lawrence
  • Methuen
  • Tewksbury
  • North Reading
  • Middleton
  • Wilmington
  • Dracut
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