Your child’s next dentist’s appointment is probably going to be one of the biggest days of their life. You want them to feel ready, happy, and excited. But, if they’re feeling anxious about it, tell them that it’s perfectly normal, and that even adults get scared! 

Talk to your child’s dentist; they may recommend sedation to help them relax and be calm before the treatment. As a parent, however, you may worry and even wonder if it’s safe. That said, it should be in your and your best interest to learn about the different types of dental sedation, and how you can help your child before and after the dental treatment. 

Types Of Dental Sedation

  • Nitrous Oxide Gas

Nitrous oxide is a drug that can be used to sedate patients during procedures. Also known as laughing gas or giggling gas, this type of sedation is administered through inhalation. A mask snugly fits over your nose so you can inhale the gas. When used, nitrous oxide is usually combined with oxygen.  

It’s considered a mild sedative agent that’s safe and effective. It’s mostly used in pediatric dentistry, so your child’s dentist Lake Worth or one in your area may use this form of sedation. The effects of laughing gas are usually felt within minutes after inhalation. And, the amount of gas used during the sedation would depend on the patient’s level of anxiety. 

It works by increasing the patient’s pain threshold and providing them with a calming effect. It can also reduce a patient’s saliva flow and gagging, which can be caused by stress. Usually, the patient is awake and can communicate. 

  • Oral Sedation

Oral sedation is a type of dental sedative that involves using medications to reduce anxiety, decrease pain, and help you relax. Oral sedatives are generally considered safe and effective. They can also be relatively inexpensive compared with other types of dental sedatives. They’re also an excellent alternative for patients having trouble wearing the laughing gas mask. 

Oral sedation is also known as ‘oral conscious sedation.’ This is because it doesn’t put you to sleep. You’ll still be awake and relaxed enough to answer questions and converse. An oral sedative is usually in the form of a pill.

A doctor will give the patient medicine and ask you to swallow it. However, for pediatric dentistry, the dentist may give your child a liquid drug in the form of oral syrup. This is usually done an hour before any procedure is done. 

  • Intravenous Sedation

IV sedation may be used if the doctor feels that deep sedation is needed. This is considered the deepest form of conscious sedation available in a dental setting.

With this kind of sedation, an anesthesiologist must be present. They’ll be the one to administer the sedative medications directly into the child’s bloodstream through an IV line.  

During the procedure, they’ll monitor the child’s blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm, and oxygen levels. They can also adjust the child’s dosage if the need arises. And, if necessary, they’ll also use reversal medication. 

In most cases, this form of sedation will put the patient to sleep, but they can still be conscious. They may be able to answer questions and respond to what the doctor says. After the procedure is done, the patient can be brought back quickly. Most patients may not remember anything from when they were sedated. 

Oral sedation is usually not considered a long-term treatment option. Still, it can be helpful when there’s a need for immediate relief from pain or discomfort, such as after a tooth extraction or an emergency root canal.

Before Sedation

Follow the dentist’s instructions so your child can have the best possible experience. To ensure this happens, you must prepare them for the dentist’s visit. Talking to your child about sedation can be a good idea. While doing so, use a language they can understand. Avoid using words that can scare them; instead, assure them that the doctors will do their best to care for them.

These are some of the things you can do at home prior to the procedure.  

  • Don’t give your child solid foods before sedation.
  • Dress your child in comfortable clothing—nothing tight.
  • Before the sedation, make sure the doctor knows of any medication your child is taking.
  • Allow your kid to bring their favorite toy or any comfort item. 

Aftercare Instructions

It’s normal for your kid to experience some sedation after-effects. They may feel dizzy and nauseous. Depending on the type of sedation used, they may lack physical coordination and even have uncontrollable giggles. As such, the patient will need to rest and special care afterward.

To ensure that your kid is well taken care of, you must: 

  • Closely observe the kid after the procedure.
  • Avoid solid foods. Instead, feed them warm soups, mashed vegetables, or smoothies to minimize discomfort in the mouth.
  • Encourage them to drink a lot of liquid and water to stay hydrated.
  • If there’s swelling, you can use an ice pack.

Uses Of Various Dentistry Sedation

Dentistry sedation for most patients is completely safe. But, for patients with underlying health conditions, there can be risks. Before the dentist gives any form of sedative, they’ll need a complete medical history. This will guarantee the child’s safety. 

In most cases, the type of procedure to be done will dictate the type of sedation to be used. For minor dental procedures, like cavity filling or crowns, nitrous oxide gas is recommended. It’s considered the safest and the most effective sedative. It wears off quickly and can easily be controlled during administration. There are no severe side effects for most patients, although a small number of patients may experience headaches and nausea.

Oral sedatives may be used for any dental procedure. However, it’s recommended for complex procedures, like oral surgery or tooth extraction. A dentist may also use this form of sedation for patients with extreme anxiety, and also for special needs during a routine cleaning and dental examination.

Complicated dental works, like gum grafting and wisdom tooth extraction, may call for a deeper sedative, like intravenous sedation. This can be ideal for complex and longer dental procedures.  

Bottom Line

Both you and your little one should have the best experience when visiting the dentist. Don’t let anxiety and fear keep you or your child from getting the dental care you deserve. Talk to your child’s dentist to find out what works best. They’ll help you assess your needs and those of your child, and help you make confident and informed decisions concerning your child’s dental health.