Dental Sedation: Good or Bad?

When parents hear that their child needs a dental procedure, it’s only natural that they feel worried. This fear can compound when they learn that the easiest route will involve dental sedation. But what is dental sedation and is it safe for children?

Here’s what you should know about dental sedation the next time your childrens dentist recommends this option.

Dental sedation: What is it?

Dental sedation is a safe process designed to make a particularly young or nervous patient feel more at ease when receiving dental treatment. It typically takes the form of nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas). Within five minutes, the patient will feel more relaxed, at ease, and less nervous. Laughing gas is typically the culprit behind funny internet videos featuring loopy kids after a dental procedure.

For particularly complicated procedures, your childrens dentist may recommend an intravenous anesthetic. This will effectively put your child to sleep so that the procedure can go on without a hitch. Rest assured that your little one won’t remember a thing from the procedure.

Is it safe?

Oral sedation is a perfectly safe procedure when you’re in the hands of a professional. A qualified childrens dentist will ensure their patient follows the correct protocol to guarantee that the oral sedation proceeds without issue. This includes restricting food and drink before the procedure and making note of any prescriptions the patient is currently taking.

While the patient is under oral sedation — particularly anesthesia — there will always be two dental professionals in the room to monitor the patient. This includes checking the patient’s temperature, monitoring their heart rate, and tracking their blood oxygen level. You’ll never have to worry about the safety of your child when you choose to work with qualified, experienced childrens dentists.

If you’re worried about undergoing complete sedation, there are also minimal sedation options where you are awake, but more relaxed throughout the process. A nervous patient is actually more likely to cause damage to themselves or others if they undergo a dental procedure. In a way, dental sedation is a safer option for nervous patients than going into the procedure with nothing at all.

Oftentimes, it’s recommended that the parent is in the room when the child wakes up. This can help deter any feelings of anxiety that can arise when a child is in an unfamiliar place. Though they won’t often feel pain from the procedure, they might also feel numbness or other strange sensations that can confuse them. Knowing that a parent is there can serve as a safety blanket in an otherwise tumultuous experience.

How can I prepare my child for sedation dentistry?

It’s vital that you follow the proper steps to ensure your child’s safety during their upcoming procedure. This includes restricting their diet before they get put under dental sedation. This is because stomach contents can pose a threat to the patient when they’re under sedation. Even though it might be tough to suppress your child’s diet, encouraging them to abstain is vital in keeping them safe.

It is also recommended that you dress your child in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. If your child is extra nervous, most dental offices are fine with allowing a stuffed animal or safety blanket in the chair.

You should also explain the reason behind the oral procedure so your child understands what is happening. After all, their oral health will be markedly improved after their cavity is filled or their cleaning is performed.

If you have more questions about the benefits of oral sedation, don’t hesitate to reach out to the childrens dentist you can trust: at Smilez Pediatric Dental Associates, we have the experience necessary to make every child feel comfortable. After all, we perform around 250,000 dental sedations each year. When you’re ready to improve your child’s oral health in a safe environment, rely on our practice to achieve the results you deserve.